Can I leave the flow 2 hive on over winter ?
Reason, at my inspection today, I found the brood hive absolutely full no spare comb cells. Quite a few capped cells on every frame.
I don’t have a spare brood box at the moment so I was thinking about putting the flow 2 hive back on and leave it on over winter. I would put the queen excluder between the brood and flow 2 hives. This will give more room for the bees.
Looking for some pro’s and con’s from the experts.
This is my first hive and have not experienced a winter yet. Cheers, G
Can I leave the flow 2 hive on over winter ?
From the guys around Perth the climate there is a border line between removing the super or leaving it on, and some have done both over a couple of years. My advice is if there is any honey in the super leave it on.
Your main issue will be more likely the lack of nectar over the Winter and feeding might be needed. When your doing inspections and see some capped comb of honey but most of the cells are opened and dry then look into feeding them 2/1 sugar water to keep the bees going.
Always have a QX under a Flow Super. I wouldn’t fit a second brood box with Winter coming on, in another month the brood and the colony size is likely to be reducing and some of the present brood cells on the outer frames will be used for honey stores.
@George_Perth you say the brood chamber was absolutely full but I’m not clear on what it was full with. Brood? Honey? Pollen? A mix, and if a mix what?
That information will influence my recommendation.
Also, you’ve still got a few weeks to go before you need to pack your hive down for winter.
Hi sorry to intrude, but do you guys in Perth ever have to feed pollen too, or just sugar?
I’ve never had to feed. Mind you, I’m in suburbia. I also have a hybrid flow super I use preferentially to the full flow so that ensures the bees nearly always have 4 traditional frames for themselves.
Hi @SnowflakeHoney, very little pollen, mainly a mix of honey about 70% and brood. Some honey cells are still open and not yet capped, about 15%
Every frame (8) is completely covered with bees. Cheers, G
Hi @BooBees, You are not intruding, always happy to receive comments.
I only feed sugar syrup 1:1, after I install a new nuc a couple of months before winter, just to help them get established and build comb.
I use foundation less frames and let them build their own comb. Cheers, G
[quote=“SnowflakeHoney, post:3, topic:25495”]
you’ve still got a few weeks to go before you need to pack your hive down for winter.
What is actually involved when you say packed down for winter ?
Sounds like you’re going on a holiday, just kidding. Cheers, G
If I’ve understood that correctly your brood box is 70pc full of honey. If that’s the case then I advise against leaving your Super on over winter this year and target an early installation of the Super in spring (say, mid August??). Your colony will deplete that honey store over winter.
I wish (holiday)
Packing the hive down for us involves minimising the hive volume (making it easier for bees to maintain temperature and reduce the potential issues with wax moth), and ensuring they have sufficient honey stores to go through winter.
If I’ve understood you correctly your honey stores are currently good and should get you through winter, especially as the bees can still forage over winter (there are no nectar flows over winter for us so they will minimise losses not fill the frames).
You can manage your hive next year towards keeping the Super on over winter if you wanted to do that. I use a hybrid Super to help facilitate this, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere.
Thanks Alan, I appreciate your advise. The only reason I wanted to put the Flow 2 back on was the give the bees more space. At the moment they are packed on every frame.
However, the advise appears to be to leave it off, and that is what I will do.
Yeah I’d advise leaving it off this winter. If you cook with honey put the super on for May and then take it off at the end of May when you pack down. You’ll likely get “runny honey” that you can just use for cooking (too high moisture content).
Hi George, do you use a crown board with the hole open? If so, that will allow the bees to migrate into the roof cavity if they need more room.
I like a migratory lid with a bee mat. That gives the bees plenty of space to occupy up in the roof cavity. Especially if you build one with higher than normal sides. For example, 3" instead of 2". It’s a good way to tell how the population strength is going, especially in the spring.
Hi Jeff, Yes I do use a crown board with the round hole. I have a 75mm extension that I use when I put a syrup feeder under the roof. If I do as you suggested, Is it likely that the bees will build comb wax under the roof ?
Only if they need the space
Edit: unlikely in winter but likely in spring depending on when the flow starts and you put the Super on
Hi Alan, I have opened up the round hole in the crown board. That will give them extra space under the roof area. Cheers, G
Hi George, the bees will build comb up there if they are looking for somewhere to build it. You probably have enough room in the roof without the 3" riser for the bees to have somewhere to expand into. If you have the hole in the crown board open & you don’t have any bees in the roof, that would indicate to me that the hive isn’t over crowded. I would lift the roof once a fortnight to monitor the population.
Hi Jeff, good thinking, I will do that and just monitor it for the next month. Thanks and Cheers, G
Hi Jeff, like this guy’s hive below? From the colour of his suit I can tell that he’s not too keen on opening the hive.
And thanks for the tip.
WOW, I won’t be leaving my inspections as long as this guy , in the video, did