Winterizing the hives, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Timber, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Timber

    Timber Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2003
    NE Ohio
    Seeing the leaves starting to change and golden rod full bloom.
    First, when do you pull off the shallow supers?
    Your idea's on how we should to prepare hives for this coming winter.

  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    You can pull the supers when most of the cells of honey are capped. I forget the exact percentage. My bees were started this spring, and I do not have enough honey to worry about entire sup[ers, I just got a couple of frames for my own use.

    The beekeepers who sell in the FArmers market out here just sort of check the supers when they need more honey to sell.

    Also, taste-test the honey. I have heard that goldenrod sometimes makes a harsh-tasting honey.

  3. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    NW-IL Fiber Enabler
    For winterizing your hives - make sure you have enough honey to last your winter. Here in NW IL, I like to keep 2 full deep supers.

    If you used a bottomless bottom board, you will want to install an actual bottom board. You will want to put on an entrance reducer and attach a mouse guard (wire cloth big enough for bees to pass through but not mice.)

    Some folks wrap in tar paper to help reduce drafts. If your hive is in a protected area, you may not need to do this. Remember that some ventilation is good in a hive to prevent too much moisture in there.

    I know this is very basic - will anyone else give suggestions on how they winterize their hives??
  4. beeman97

    beeman97 Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2003
    Southern Tier NY.
    Winterizing hives is completly dependent on your location ,,, hives in the south need very little work to survive the winter while hives in the north & canada have to be totally wrapped in insulation, with several supers full of honey to insure survival through there long winter. I would not suggest that anyone take honey off there hives at this time of yr regardless of location, We take our honey on the july 4th weekend here in N.C. & that is the only time ,,, all the honey produced in the fall honey flows is left to the bee's for there use to survive the winter.

  5. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Our honeyflow here is from early May until the second or third week of June. After that it is all over until the fall weeds bloom. Now and then there is a secondary flow from soybeans from mid July into August but that is unreliable.

    I always plan to pull honey on the 4th of July (never mind that it might be the first of August when I get around to it) and leave anything the bees gather from secondary flows or the fall weeds for winter stores.

    A full depth hive body and a medium super get the bees thru just fine. If well filled the bees build up very well, if a bit light they will need spring feeding. They start here in January. When the Willow and Elm start blooming, with box elder coming hard after, the bees really get into high gear. In February they have to be watched to see that they are not running short of stores. In March they will start swarming if you are not on your toes.