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A few question re my first "winter"

Hi all knowing peeps
Having started this journey 8 months ago I’ve arrived at my first winter… If you can call it that in Sydney.

After a slow start, we’ve harvested about 16litres in the last 3 months, including a very full hive last weekend. Overall we have a very healthy hive and the temperature inside says her majesty is still laying. (as I hear they do all winter here)

So, I have a couple of questions…

I was told to ditch the core flute a while ago by a local expert, and i followered that advice. Now that it’s getting cold (single figures at night, mid to high teens Celsius during the day) Should I put it back to keep them a little cosier?

Should I reduce the entrance?

Is there anything else I need to do this time of year that the books don’t tell you?

Or, should I just leave them the hell alone to get on with life?

Cheers
Ron

I wouldn’t exactly ditch the coreflute, as even in the lower position it will tell you what’s going on in the hive by reading the debris.
Lots of stuff beekeepers tell you.

You only need to reduce your entrance if your colony is weak or there is robbing.
Make sure you don’t get over enthusiastic with the harvesting right now. Leave a few frames for the bees to overwinter.

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I would, but some people don’t, including many of the hobby beekeepers leave them open all year. Like you, I think it makes them use more energy (eat more honey) if they have to battle against an unholy draft from the floor.

That would definitely help them in several ways. First they will have a less drafty hive. Second they have a smaller entrance to protect from robbers, wasps and rodents, all of which are looking for a cozy place to go in Autumn. :blush:

Sing to them every day, and read them stories at sunset. :smile: Just kidding. If you get frosts, I would consider a quilt box to reduce condensation. It can also help if you put some foam roofing insulation in the roof of the hive. Monitor the hive weight regularly and be prepared to feed if they are getting light, or you see that they are running out of stored honey.

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Hi Ron,

Did you leave 2 or 3 frames of honey in the super for winter? They may or may not need it depending on the nectar availability in your area.

I would too… although I don’t have the corflute slider, I do use trays which have been out all summer, I am putting these back in the hives with a good sprinkling of diatomaceous earth as the beetles have been terrible this year. Additionally, a hive mat over the brood frames will help to keep them warm and slow down the consumption of winter honey supplies.

No need where you are, I am doing it but mainly due to the beetles, gives the bees a better chance to defend the hive and it does cut down on the cold wind going in the hives.

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Yes Rodderick, we did leave them some.
When you say hive matt above the brood I’m assuming it’s not completely blocking off the super?

Thanks Dawn.
My problem with the core flute is that beetles hide around the edges. When it’s not in there the bees patrol down there.
It must let out a lot of hard earned heat tho which is why I’m torn.
I find they react better to singing at sunset and reading too them in the morning…

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Hi Ron, congratulations on the honey harvest. I like your thinking. I would replace the core flute into the top slot & quite frankly, I’d leave it there. You could reduce the entrance to about 4 inches x 1/2 an inch. All you need is 6" the rest of the year anyway.

Be aware that during winter, the bees will constrict the brood & replace it with honey. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to have 3 or 4 frames worth of honey in the brood box. With that in mind, if the bees are still finding nectar throughout winter, they should be ok without any honey in the honey super.

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Thats correct. Space around the sides and the ends for the bees to get up to the super if they need to.

Thanks Rod. If I’m looking at that correctly it looks like a piece of vinyl or something that is checked. Is that right? With an inch or so right around the edges for access to the super. Do you just leave yours on for the cold part of winter and remove it end of August or something? I kind of have the feeling I might as well help them keep warm

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Hey Ron, doesn’t have to be checkered… just a piece of vinyl or chaff bag (if you have chooks). An inch around the sides is perfect.

Yes, I remove in August, as soon as the weather begins to warm and the bees are becoming active again.

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