With 25C to 30C summers and sunny Fall seasons bees thrive and I left mine plenty of honey for the winter. They mostly forage Fireweed and the honey was delicious. On average -7C during the winter here but we had freak weeks of -20C followed by above 0, then very cold again continuing for 2-3 weeks in early winter. I had removed the Queen excluder and left on the Flow Super. Concerned for condensation with the rise and fall in temperatures I raised the lid slightly and insulated with foam board hoping the icy winds blowing across the frozen ocean would not penetrate and that air could circulate. Although we are still below 10C there is healthy activity and I plan the first inspection once temperatures steady around 12C. I plan to remove any bees from the Flow Super to the brood boxes below but am unsure if I should re-insert the excluder and leave the Super on in case brood have been laid, or leave the Super off until brood is sizeable. Any thoughts or mistakes I have made? Thank you.
Put the excluder in ASAP! If you get brood in the flow frames you end up with a mess.
Hi Graham, sounds like you have done well to keep them going through a tough winter. I guess you’ll have to have a look inside as you say, but if there is still a good lot of bees in there and honey in the super, I would have thought you ought to be able to keep it on as spring approaches. Even if there is drone brood in the super, I think they can escape from the hive once emerged (with the excluder in place), if you take the top off the hive every now and then - at least I would expect they could.
If you have a Flow Hive I would always have a QX in the hive but saying that I have to wonder if it is wise to leave a flow hive super fitted over winter, that is a lot of space to be heated for no gain. I would harvest the honey, leave the flow hive on a couple of days for the bees to clean it up and store the honey in the hive then remove the flow hive for the winter. ‘Pack down’ the hive for the cold of winter and the hive will be stronger come the spring.
With your winters I would think a double brood box would be wise. Build them up THEN put the super on over a QE but always have a QE on with the flow super. Over winter you should remove the flow super.
Thanks - I left the flow super on this winter with 2/3 honey as it I did not have confidence there was enough honey stock below for the winter. Next Season I plan to do as you say and empty the Super of honey and remove for winter.
Thanks - I do have a double brood box and I may add another
Yes, once I am sure the queen is not in the Super the excluder will be re-inserted and I will lift the lid as suggested for any drones to escape.
Great advice all, thank you.
Just shake all bees out of the super. Queeny gone