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NZBF Wintering down on 3 young hives

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I didn’t want to interrupt the wonderful May Apiary Diary flow so I’ll stay in Happy Valley here, being a grasshopper ‘n all. So this first year restarting I went from one nuc last May to 3 wintered down hives of 20,000 bees each.

I opened up the 3 hives on sunny warm Thursday and found in each, 4 patches of sealed brood on the two centre brood box frames, a few cells of uncapped brood day 6, and honey capped, or being capped on the other 4-6 outer frames. That’s my girls.  I moved a couple of uncapped honey frames in the super above down to complete 8 in the brood box. 

we are right on the coast so our winter nights get down to 6 degrees at the lowest.

-the parent hive is still slightly stronger than the other two Oct 2018 splits, about 25,000. 

-I’m keeping the feeders on top of all 3 hives and I’m feeding until the honey frames are capped then I will monitor. 

The queens seems to have slowed right down and virtually stopped laying. There will be about 2-3000 winter bees emerge in about 10 days time in each of the three hives

 

I’d appreciate wise words on these things- ( it would be a shame to make things tough for the colonies at this late stage having got them through most of a season expanding nicely) 

 

-My mentor last year said the brood area can be successfully covered with a layer of felt to keep it cosy and you can store an empty ish box of frames and comb above. I don’t have felt, can I use a folded cotton tea towel.

 

-I have no storage space for the 3 supers with empty combs and I don’t want the wax moth to get into them. I have never had much luck keeping the moth out in the past, other than leaving drawn frames on the hive. I plan to keep the empty drawn out supers on the hives, put a ‘blanket’ over the brood area and feed as needed over winter.

 

-Ill get a small 5 kg pollen sub from farmlands in July to help the bees build up as needed. There’s cream, beige and salmon red pollen coming in at all 3 hives entrances but its not being stored its being consumed. Do they need pollen sub now, I don’t want to stimulate breeding. 

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You’re doing well 😊.

 

The bees won’t need you to feed or supply pollen , but if it is in line with what you want to do , then fair enough .

 

I have a  box of empty to part empty frames above the feeder on about a dozen hives .

 

The idea is there is food there for them while keeping the bees compact in the brood boxes . On a flow they add nectar above , and on some ,the queens are up there laying . 

 

 

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23 hours ago, M4tt said:

You’re doing well 😊.

 

The bees won’t need you to feed or supply pollen , but if it is in line with what you want to do , then fair enough .

 

I have a  box of empty to part empty frames above the feeder on about a dozen hives .

 

The idea is there is food there for them while keeping the bees compact in the brood boxes . On a flow they add nectar above , and on some ,the queens are up there laying . 

 

 

Great. Good to know I’m not off track.

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