Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter  (Read 466 times)

Offline threehives

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 18
  • Gender: Male
Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« on: April 24, 2017, 07:13:22 AM »
Hi All

Just a few questions about overwintering smaller colonies, I have a few colonies which will probably need a feed during winter to get them through. I have looked over the temperature observations made in this area for the last 5 years and it seems we always get 3 or four consecutive days during each winter month were the temperature stays between 8 and 15degrees. I am aware bees will not take syrup below 10degrees but im wondering if I could feed syrup in these periods. I use a top feeder in a empty super with a inner cover in between the two boxes, the inner cover has a hole in the middle. the feeder sits over the hole so the bees cannot enter the top box and don't need to try and keep this super warm, so the insulation of the hive is not compromised and is improved as it forms a roof cavity. the bees should be able to get to the feeder as this is the only thing exposed to the bees from the top. (hope that makes sense). I am also able to enter the top box and change the syrup without disturbing the hive at all. I am mostly concerned about increasing the moisture in the hive over winter but here in wagga wagga nsw it is a fairly dry climate. I will also put some sort of insulation in the top super to reduce condensation forming on the inner cover and dripping on the bees.

any thoughts or issues one may see would be great

Cheers Phill

Online Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 16204
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 08:45:50 AM »
My impression when I was in NSW and talking to beekeepers was that there is probably SOME nectar all the time.  In which case I don't see any reason to feed.  Here (Nebraska) feeding syrup in the winter is not possible really and if it warms up enough for a few days to be possible, it's a bad idea because of the moisture in the hive.  There I'm guessing it wouldn't hurt as far as condensation because you just don't get cold really.  But feeding always has a downside.  I would feed if you need to.  Your temperatures are seldom colder than they can take syrup and it's the temperature of the syrup that matters.  If the temp is 15 C (59 F) during the day and 8 C (46 F) at night the syrup is never going to fall below 10 C (50 F).
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Offline max2

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 119
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2017, 06:11:31 PM »
Believe me , Michael, Wagga Wagga can get cold and other parts of NSW will get snow for an extended period - Alpine.

Offline 220

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 149
  • Gender: Male
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2017, 07:18:05 PM »
Long term average for Wagga is 6 months a year with average minimum temps below 8c. Doesn't get bitterly cold but they do drop below freezing on average more than 20 nights a year.
If you visit Aus again Michael we will have to get you away from the costal strip.

Offline threehives

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 18
  • Gender: Male
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2017, 08:31:03 PM »
Thanks Michael,
Here in Wagga there are a few varieties of eucalyptus trees which flower in the winter, just unsure if the bees will forage in that temp range (8-15 C). The syrup will be below the insulation so like you said it should not drop below the 10 C mark.

Offline max2

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 119
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2017, 06:19:17 PM »
Some of my bees will fly as soon as the temp hits 14C...some wait until it is reaching 18C. The native bees much prefer warm weather. I'm sure that it would be possible to select for bees which fly in cooler temps.

Offline Buckscreek

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2017, 06:26:15 PM »
Hi threehives,

Can you post a picture of your syrup feeding arrangement as I can't quite figure it out. I have some relatively new colonies which will likely need to be fed through winter as they've not yet stored enough honey.

Offline 220

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 149
  • Gender: Male
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2017, 12:02:41 AM »
Sounds like just a inner cover with a inverted jar or similar over the hole and a empty box and lid on top of the inner cover.

Offline Buckscreek

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 03:07:45 AM »
Thanks thats what i was thinking, but haven't actually seen or made similar. I have some entrance feeders which won't work with a Parkers plastic brood box, hence the looking about for options.

Offline 220

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 149
  • Gender: Male
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2017, 06:17:16 PM »
I made inner covers from 3mm ply and ripped some pine to 35x20mm as a surround. Offset the ply in the surround so I have 5mm one side and 12mm the other, this let me cut a 10mm deep notch in the 12mm side that I can use as a top entrance depending on which way up the cover is placed. Drilled a hole in the centre with the biggest hole saw I had and I can place a jar feeder over it or leave it open and sit a couple of inverted jars on smalls bits of timber sitting on the inner cover. My jar feeders are the biggest jars I could find (1-1.5L) with 1.5mm holes drilled in the lids.
Winter has hit here the last few days, dropped below freezing Wednesday night for the first time, we have had frosts every night since. Day temps are still making mid to high teens c, all my hives were flying early yesterday afternoon and I could see pollen coming in.

Offline Andersonhoney

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 120
  • Gender: Male
Re: Overwintering small colonies and feeding during winter
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2017, 04:57:47 AM »
Perhaps try fondant or sugar bricks. With this lean year I've been feeding hives syrup since December. Have now got them onto Lauri's sugar bricks to get them through til spring.

 

anything