over winter

Alastair

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Below is 1. not natural, and worst of all 2. exposed to robbing as it's by the entrance but the bees will cluster where the brood is.
 
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Hmmm ....many ways to cook an egg.
When wintering hives, if the box with the brood and bees is weak, we rotate the boxes and put the brood at the top of a two brood box hive ..... it be warmer up there !
 
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I setup my hives for winter with food box on bottom and brood up top. I have middle entrance and bottom one blocked and mesh base. Bit of shagging about but works well for me.
 

Alastair

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What's the point?

A wild hive works it's way up into the honey through winter.

If you think it's warmer up top, why force the bees to go down into the cold just to get something to eat? Great way to achieve a worse outcome in my view.
 
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I’m always amazed at how little tucker bees consume over winter when they go into a cluster. Every region is different, but down here it makes sense .... hot air rises... so keep the brood warm.
 
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Hmmm ....many ways to cook an egg.
When wintering hives, if the box with the brood and bees is weak, we rotate the boxes and put the brood at the top of a two brood box hive ..... it be warmer up there !
that probably works because no other bees/wasp are out flying in the snow!
but up north its not cold enough so anything weak or exposed becomes an easy target.
i would leave honey up top and let the bees sort it out.
 

stoney

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I was yarning about this with a mate just the other day he’s an old ex airborne keeper.. usually I winter as dbl brood, brood in bottom FD box full on top no excluder, I treat with ox/gl paper.. come first checks in august the bottom box is generally empty and the top will have 4-6 brood frames, I switch these around and start the season off.
this autumn I’ve taken on board some of his musings and am wintering a hundred or so with the full box under them, does make sense as far as the warmth goes so will be interesting to see the difference.
 

Alastair

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It's against the natural way, but let's know how your experiment goes Stoney.

As per Tristan, up here with a milder winter it would be a dangerous thing to do, robbing by both bees and wasps is still in full force here at any opportunity. In places like Canada or parts of US with very cold winters it would likely be a death sentence. Maybe SI of NZ has winters somewhere in the middle the bees may be able to survive it.

However I too an an ex Airborne beekeeper, I think Jasper would be spinning in his grave at such a suggestion. We did used to put some honey in the bottom box when wintering, because that was the only place we could take empty combs from to make room, after the bees had arranged the hive with honey at the top, in keeping with their natural urges.
 

stoney

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Yes it will be interesting.. wasps are a non issue for me as I have cleaned them up back in Feb/March and robbing is generally a non issue also as anything queen less Drone laying or just small gets combined/deleted from the system.
Setting them up in the warm spot under the lid and away from the frozen ground at the entrance in theory has some merit and while the tucker is still there for them I’m sure they will use it just the same.
Time will tell but going by my cobber the method works pretty good. I won’t know if I don’t give it a crack.
 

tommy dave

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noting plenty of more experienced opinion above...
If you're over-wintering with two boxes, i'd want the top box about full of stores, and the bottom box with a few frames of stores too.
Most importantly though - a reduced entrance, and no queen excluder between those two boxes.
 

stoney

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Yes the excluder in over winter can be a recipe for disaster, reduced entrance a certainty and well the stores... let’s see what happens..
shall we place some bets??
 

Alastair

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Well here's a plan for you Southbee, winter all your hives with the honey under this time, and see how your winter survival compares to normal.

There's an experiment for ya. And if it's worse you have to send me a bottle of your sons home brew 😄
 

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