Looking to connect with beekeepers in Montana or nearby similar cold climates!
There are several posts from people in MT, @John_Yeager is also in Livingston.
@Doug1 is in northern Alberta (maybe Edmonton?) and is probably the most active member in a similarly harsh climate.
Getting started or just getting connected?
Thank you! I’m just getting started, and my bees are scheduled to arrive early May. I’m very excited and have a lot to learn!
Great to have you, Jenny - welcome and keep us posted as you progress
Are you getting package bees or nuc units?
I am doing nucs. I ordered two based on the suggestions of the book I have been reading (Storey’s guide). Do you feel like it is helpful to have additional brood boxes to help the bees thrive during the winter? I have been trying to research the best practices to help them their first year and I’m very nervous about the cold.
Definitely plan on double brood. You might also want some local advice on insulating and or quilt top boxes to reduce condensation.
Also, getting bees that late in the season, you may need to prepare to feed aggressively unless your region has an exceptional nectar flow at that time.
Thanks Dawn! I’m not sure if this is a silly question, but at what point in their development do you add the additional brood box? After they have filled a super, or after their first brood seems to be doing well and before you add the super?
In my area, clover seems to bloom pretty prolifically around June through August. I ordered my bees from a local company and didn’t think to question the date. I appreciate your tips!
This is a pretty simple concept (but not for a new beekeeper). You never, ever add any new box (brood, super etc) to a hive unless all of the following are true. I must have typed this dozens of times now, so older forumites, please forgive me:
- The current box has all frames with fully drawn comb, and
- The comb is at least 80% full of brood, pollen or honey, and
- Every frame is completely covered with bees
That way you know that the bees need more space, and that they have enough bees to heat and guard the new space.
There are no silly questions here. It would be silly not to ask a question if you didn’t know the answer. So feel free to ask, and we will help.
Last frost date is Livingston MT is June 8!!
In central Ohio it is hard to get young well-mated local queens before early may. (Last frost 5/17.)
Do you ever have issues when the temperatures change drastically and vary even in May? My fear is they wont be prepared if there is a sudden drop in temperature and they will be spread out. Does that happen?
Not quite sure what you mean by “spread out”. If you mean foraging, they are more sensible than that. If you mean no longer in a winter cluster, yes that can happen. However, cold doesn’t usually kill bees in the short term. It is the condensation dripping on them and chilling them that really does fast damage. If your hive is insulated and you have a top quilt, condensation is not going to be a problem.
There is a story of a researcher who was working on a cluster of bees. When the research was finished, he put them in the freezer to “euthanize” them. Much to his amazement, the next day, the cluster was still alive! The freezer was dry, and they tolerated it very well.
I meant when they cluster so that’s very reassuring and helpful! I will talk to my neighbor who has had bees for a long time about how he insulates his hives. Thanks!
I am still here. Haven’t been on the forum lately. I will say that with the warm weather I went out and popped the lids quick on my hives. 7 of the 8 I have at my house are alive. Need to check my other two I have at a friends place. Going to try and do that tomorrow. Welcome all to Beekeeping!
The majority of my hives are double deeps. Both 8 and 10 frame. I overwinted a triple 5 frame nuc last winter. I also have two of my ten hives that have one deep and a medium super. I was given the same advice that @Dawn_SD gave you and agree with it as well. Now that I have ten hives I figured I could give it a shot. This will be my sixth season and I love it. Have both flow hives, hybrid flow hive supers, and traditional hives with 8 and 10 frame setups. Purchased a Maxant 9 frame extractor last fall. To say I am in deep as a hobbyist is an understatement. Dawn is right though. Ask any question. There is so much one can learn on this forum and the people are nice. I have been on others and the people can be not so nice.