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Winter pack down, South Eastern Victoria, Australia


#1

Could someone please advise me on the following regarding preparing for winter in Sth Eastern Vic. Aust.
After reducing my five boxes down to three and removing the QX and flow frames, I have some honey in the top super and some frames with brood in the lower boxes. Is it OK to leave the hive with three boxes in total over winter. They are in a built up Rea so have some protection from the cold winds.
Also, I have a few langstroth hives consisting of two boxes with some honey in the top box and some brood in the lower box. I’ve removed the QX in both cases. I’d love to reduce each of them down to one box for winer but don’t want to deprive them their honey. These two hives are in a more exposed area. I would really appreciate some advice please.


#2

Hi Behappy. I am not sure why you removed the queen excluders. You dont really need to.
Your flow hive with 3 boxes and your other 2 hives should be fine over winter. I am in the Southern Highlands NSW where it gets pretty cold and I have left hives 3 high a few times with no problem.
I hope this helps.


#3

Hi @Behappy

This is a question that has proved difficult to answer in recent times on this forum and elsewhere. I suspect the answer is one divided by opinion, and there may be no hard and fast rule in Victoria . As you have a few hives, you could possibly do some experimentation as see what happens. I guess you get the odd very light frost on the Mornington peninsula?


#4

What I did over winters in the Hawkesbury west of Sydney and at Mudgee where both areas had sub zero winters for a couple of months was to work on a frame of honey for each frame covered with bees and reduced the hives to a single brood box and a super. I never lost a queen from the cold by the colony deserting her and moving to the super. I always used a QX all year and come Spring I would make it a double brood hive for the Patterson’s Curse (Salvation Jane) and chasing the flows as they came.
Regards


#5

Thanks for replying so promptly. I was thinking I needed to remove the QX in case the Queen was left exposed to the cold when the workers left the “huddle” to get food, so it’s interesting that others don’t do this. There is just SO much to learn !!

I’m already looking forward to the Cape-weed and Patterson curse.

Thanks again.


#6

There will be plenty of bees to keep the brood area warm, a handful of bees will bring honey down to be stored next to the brood as it is used.

Spring will bring you an explosion of activity with the Paterson’s Curse and the Cape weed. Often I was so busy I had to just add supers on the supers then would park my ute and trailer next to the hives to work off them. It was very long hours with a convoy of bee keepers heading for home at sun down - all telling how they went over the CB’s. I reckoned if I could easily get up the scenic hill out of Lithgow I was light on load, often down to low range, 1st gear and walking pace.
Regards


#7

Thanks Peter.

What a delightful picture you paint of you working your hives and chatting with other beekeepers over the CB on the way home, whilst the ute grinds its way up the hill.

I work solo, so envy you this mateship !

Best of luck and thanks again.