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Falling into Winter with a TBH

Discussion in 'Habitat - The Beehive' started by Amiga, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. Nov 7, 2014
    Amiga

    Amiga Chillin' with the herd

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    Just a little update - there are so many factors that go into the few decisions I am making about doing all I can to support the bees their first winter. And I guess for all but one, it is their last, too. sigh.

    But the hive can survive!

    I will spare all the details and torturous thought processes I have gone through and just share my decisions.

    I will feed - gonna make fondant with sugar, water and a touch of apple cider vinegar. Gonna make it in layers, and stack the layers into something - perhaps a stainless steel basket so it doesn't go all over the place - and sit it in a shallow container to catch any goo that may seep out.

    I have insulated the hive with custom panels. Blue foam inside, thin wooden sheet outside, fitted with stretchy cords to hold them in place. A panel on top, between the hive cover and roof. For the rest of this week, I will leave the front insulator panel off, but the robbing reduction screen on.

    There is nearly a gallon of 1+ sugar to 1 water in the hive, a last - or next to last - mild weather feeding.

    I will set up a windbreak a few feet from the hive, on the north and west sides mostly.
    …..

    The bees look fine. They are clustered, near the front of the hive. There are some honey stores, not nearly enough for the whole winter, in my opinion.

    I already have a strap around the hive.
     
  2. Nov 9, 2014
    Sumi

    Sumi True BYH Addict Administrator

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    It sounds like you've got all your bases covered @Amiga Hope all goes well over winter!
     
  3. Nov 9, 2014
    Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Loving the herd life

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    Ditto! Good luck with winter!
     
  4. Nov 11, 2014
    Amiga

    Amiga Chillin' with the herd

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    Folks, I am happy to report that in spite of the weather and a number of events that piled up over the last several days, the hive has 16 pounds of fondant in a dish with an enamel-coated metal basket holding it up. I will see if I can send along a photo tomorrow.

    What I learned . . . well, I learned that I can get stymied by surprises, but I can regroup.

    When I opened the hive, there was still half a gallon of syrup in the feeder. Huh. Bees looked great, and were bellying up to the feeder by the dozens. For some reason, this set me back, as I asked myself if I should wait for a later opportunity to put the fondant in. I mean, they have all that syrup to finish!

    Cutting to the chase - I sat back and thought about it. Looked at the weather forecast for the next ten days. Tomorrow, rainy and 60F, then freezing overnight, next day high around 45 and cloudy, then below freezing at night, then pretty much bouncing between high 20's and high 30's. Today was my day to load the winter feed. The hive seems very light on stores. So, I put what I could reasonably fit, fondant-wise, in to the hive. I still have another 9 pounds of fondant so that when we have that unusually warm pleasant day in February I can take a quick peek and add fondant if necessary.

    To make the fondant feeder - I used a 9 inch by 10 inch no-stick cake pan, and two 10 inch by 16 inch wire cooling racks. I bent the racks into L shapes - they made a nice rectangle up on their sides. I twist-tied them together, then set the fondant - that I had formed with pie pans - on their sides.

    I keep overestimating the inside height of the hive. Just a quirk of mine. Ended up having to trim down the wire basket. The fondant patties themselves were just right, height-wise.

    I aim to freeze the leftover syrup and offer that in the spring if needed.

    P.S. I love my bolt cutter.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
    Sumi likes this.
  5. Nov 13, 2014
    Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Loving the herd life

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    Bolt cutter? Please elaborate. :D =D
     
  6. Nov 13, 2014
    Amiga

    Amiga Chillin' with the herd

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  7. Nov 14, 2014
    Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Loving the herd life

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    I know what a bolt cutter is. :lol: I was trying to figure out how one would need one in a beehive.
     
  8. Nov 29, 2014
    Buzz'n Billy

    Buzz'n Billy Ridin' The Range

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    Maybe just spread it on top of the top bars over the cluster and see how that works.
     
  9. Dec 2, 2014
    Amiga

    Amiga Chillin' with the herd

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    We had a couple of mild days this week - and a scout bee came by the house to say hello (maybe?). I saw several bees flying in and out of the hive - time for cleansing flights, I suppose. It was a joy to see they are still with us.
     
  10. Dec 4, 2014
    Amiga

    Amiga Chillin' with the herd

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    Went to the hive late this morning, to make a couple of minor adjustments, and rested my ear against the top bars. Heard nothing. :(

    Moved to the front of the hive - no activity - not a surprise, it was low 40s F. Rested my ear against the front of the hive. And I heard . . . the humming of bees' wings. :love:weee