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Removing top feeder in fall

Hi, first year beekeeper here🙂. I live in Eastern Ontario, and have been top feeding my hive in prep for our long, harsh winter. I need to remove the feeder, but am wondering how I get all the bees out of it? Should I leave it near hive for the day in hopes the bees will vacate? Don’t want to encourage robbing? Not sure what to do. Any advice would be helpful!

Wait until it is freezing and then the bees will have moved down and you can take it off. If they are still feeding (2:1 sugar to water?) then I would let them keep feeding right now. Our weather is yo-yo like with warm spells and getting colder, the bees will stop feeding when its too cold. What type of top feeder do you have in there? You may decide to just leave the feeder on if it is the type that just has a small opening to let the bees up into the feed area and that gives you options for spring early feeding in late March/April 2021.

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Thank you so much for your reply! ! Have this style of feeder, so my plan was to take off and replace with a package of fondant just prior to wrapping for the winter. How late can I leave wrapping for winter? Mid November?

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I have some of those feeders too and it is always amazing to see how the bees Houdini there way past the mesh and into the mix. I find they often build comb on the underside so don’t be surprised to discover that-- and be ready to clean that mess up. I have since migrated to using a top feeder above the inside cover instead (https://www.beesmartdesigns.com/product-list/universal-feeder) and then I don’t have the issue anymore of bees being where they aren’t supposed to be.

The wrapping can wait for sure until after the first snow really-- its purpose is to 1st wind block, and 2nd maintain internal temps from fluctuation as much as possible. It won’t be a disaster to not have them on for quite a while. I’m actually not wrapping this season-- I’ve not seen loss in the past when I didn’t wrap vs when I do, and my apiary grew substantially this season (by 15 hives) so its just too much money for no noticeable advantage-- but I’m in southwestern Ontario (Lasalle, near Windsor) and have my yard in a fairly sheltered spot so maybe I just don’t get the advantage because of the sheltering for me.

Where are you in “eastern” ontario?

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Oh? Interesting!! I will buy one of these feeders to try in the spring. I purchased the other one primarily because of ease of filling and amount it can hold at one time, but can now see the disadvantages once it’s time to take off and clean😕. So much to learn! Doing my best, this first year has been a steep learning curve but I am constantly amazed by my bees. Such a fun and fascinating hobby!
I am in Ottawa, and we are already seeing below freezing at night. I am going to aim for mid November, unless we get a weird warm spell. I am afraid my bees are in for a long, hard winter so I will try wrapping, maybe more for my peace of mind😂. Thanks again, wonderful info and such a huge help!

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Your bees will do well if the weather is either always cold or always mild over the winter, its the fluctuating in the last few years of being warm one day that causes them to break cluster and explore and then the rapid chill and cold thrashing. If you have wild weather swings like that you need to keep looking in the cover to see if they are taking your fondant over the winter as you might have to add more, and I would think by January you will have to if you do have that thrashing weather. Did you do mite treatment? If not, that is likely the biggest help you can give to the bees.

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