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Will my hive make it through Winter?


#1

Hello All,

My hive has had a hell of a year. I installed successfully only to realize my package swarmed. I added a second deep brood box and I requeened successfully with a population boom in August, only to have a horrible dearth/drought. The queen absconded again most likely due to dearth and me not recognizing I needed to feed. The hive requeened and she has been laying a healthy brood. Now they are under attack from robbing since I have been constantly feeding to get the winter stores up. I am managing the robbing with a robbing screen.

Upon yesterday’s inspection, I have 3 brood frames, 2-3 pollen frames with capped honey on top, 2 capped honey frames in the bottom deep. The top deep had 4 frames with honey in various stages of capping. The rest of the frames are bone dry. The whole hive probably weighs 30-40lbs. I am still feeding 2:1 sugar mixture.

I live in Central Illinois and usually have moderatly cold winters with not a lot of snow. Usually, we have a good amount of moisture. We have probably 20 days below zero temps.

Will my hive make it? What can I do to give them the best chances? What should I feed them?

I have a sugar fondant and a Vivaldi board I intend to use. Should I put pollen pucks in there?

Thanks!

Joe


#2

It sounds like you have a little more resources than one of my hives did last year. I did what you are doing feeding them sugar water. Keep doing that until it gets too cold and they aren’t using it any more. When that point came I made some sugar candy and placed it on top of the frames in the upper brood box. I put a moisture quilt box on top of it then closed it up for the winter. I also put insulation on the outside of the hive too.

It sounds like you are doing all of that too. When we had a warm day in late winter (40 deg F+) I took the roof off and peeled back the burlap to look into the hive quickly. The couple of times I was able to do that I could see activity and know the hive was still alive.

With regards to the pollen pucks I would say use your best judgement whether they have enough pollen stores or not. The queen is laying brood to get thru the winter now. She won’t be laying consistently again until spring and shouldn’t have a great need for the pollen again until brood production resumes.

Good luck,

John