Hello and looking for other "arctic" bees

I’m also new to bee keeping and live in Big Lake, Alaska. Like you, I am hoping to winter over my bees. My plan is to let them have two brood boxes and wrap them in foam board in the winter, leaving a small top opening for ventilation and elimination. I have a thick piece of blue foam in place in the base of a shallow box for the top of the hive. I’m looking forward to seeing what others have to say about this.

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Do you have a Flow Hive? I’m thinking some modifications may be necessary for winter.
You must know Steve? www.alaskawildflowerhoney.com
We are putting the second brood box on now.
It will be interesting to see what will happen with the Flow box (honey super) as the bees are extremely active in there already.

I’ve never met Steve, I’ve only heard of him and that he lives close by.
I’m planning on taking the flow box off for the winter. I haven’t put it on yet. I put my second brood boxes on the hives two weeks ago, but the bees haven’t added any new comb to it yet.

Apparently I got ahead of myself. Just the brood boxes are on. They are building comb in the second now.
Do you know of SABA? There is a SABA Beekeepers discussing group on facebook. Lots of good information.

I’ll have to go check out SABA on facebook. Have you noticed any other posts about the flow hive in Alaska on the SABA group?

I just peeked yesterday and noticed lots of new comb in the second box. Yay!

Hi Robin. Yes, one more on SABA FB with a 3 frame box.
Checked my second brood box, looked good. Lots of bees on all frames. Comb on all but the outside frames again. Same as first brood box. I was feeding this whole time as this is my first year and new frames. My neighbor was so kind to start me off with a couple of frames with comb on them.
The things I noticed that made me think it was time to stop feeding and add the flow super:
Fewer bees using the feeder.
Less pollen coming in.
Appearance of "drunk bees"
Side note: I watched them for a long time. The girls would fly into the side of the hive, fall down in front of the entrance. Then other bees would go to them, do a dance and hustle towards the entrance. The little bees would follow! Incredibly funny to watch.
I forgot to look for the queen in the 2nd brood box of course.

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I’m in Wasilla, Alaska and hooked up with the Alaska Bee Initiative here. While there are some people that are killing their bees before winter there is a increasing number of us wintering over. Even a few of us hoping to take the bees that would be killed and attempt to set them up with a new hive and stores pulled from our own hives. May be futile but I’m going to give it a shot. I’m quite fond of my bees and it’s sad to know colonies are being destroyed when it’s not necessary. If there are other Alaskans reading this I would be interested in communicating with you. Please post here or IM me.


Hey that sounds wonderful…
Please keep me in the loop :smile:

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I just thought I would post a little bit about my hive.
Summer was great here in Alaska! Since this was year 1 for a completely new hive I wasn’t expecting much. The ladies did a great job building comb on 4 complete boxes of blank frames! I even got some honey. But most importantly I am ready for next year with nice comb for them to start filling right away.
I replaced the flow hive box with feeding box and started 2:1 syrup as soon as the fireweed was done, around the first of August. They’ve gone through 50 pounds of sugar already! My plan is to winter in place feeding syrup until it’s about 40 degrees at night. Then switch to a sugar cake 2" deep and the dimensions of a box. 2" foam board and black plastic to keep the light out. I am also using a bottom board with 1/2" screen to allow dead bees to fall out and not create a jam at the entrance. I drilled a ventilation hole in the back of the roof and put screen over it.

If anyone has any other ideas I would be love to hear them!


Overwintering bees in Alaska is hard I gather. Thanks for posting this and please keep us all updated.

Hi all. Sorry to have missed so many messages. Been busy at home and work. My summer went fine, but not as good as previous years. I was gone for 3 weeks in July and I am pretty sure I had a swarm. The person watching the hives for me had an injury and wasn’t able to check on them more than once.

I am overwintering and as far as I can tell they are doing fine. I feel like I prepped much better this year than last. I am not opening the hive or anything, but just based on listening to them it sound promising so far.


Good luck Matt
I’ll repost this link
It’s very good