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Winter Prep and Nucs for 2013

Well, we are moving well into November and I am definitely behind in my Winter prep. I have probably secured about 50% of the 60-some-odd hives and hope to take care of the rest tomorrow. Like every year, I am putting entrance reducers on (even though I have never tested to see if this really makes a difference), leveling the hives and doing a last honey check. The honey check has been mostly very positive, but I do have a few hives that seem to be a bit lighter than I normally have, going into the Winter. It will be interesting to see how they do. I have about 4 supers of honey collected from the Winter checks (I break hives down to 2 or 3 supers, at most.) If necessary, I’ll use them on any hives that may need it.

One thing that I am doing differently this year is using pop-cycle sticks. In each Winter check, I remove the normal stick under the outer cover (it raises it about a half an inch or more above the inner cover, providing ventilation) and putting a half of a pop-cycle stick under each corner of the inner cover. It’s a bit more work, so I’m not sure why I decided to ‘switch up’ (I’ve not had a problem with survival using the old method). In retrospect, it was probably not a good idea and I may not do it for the remaining hives.

I have definitely learned another lesson in these checks. When you go into August, make sure you have nothing but Medium supers on the hives (if you have any honey supers at all.) I ended up leaving some of my shallow supers on because of how the bees managed their living space. Although all of them were above Queen Excluders, I had to remove the excluders and most will probably end up having brood in them now. One of the benefits of having ‘brood free’ honey supers is that you can store them without much risk at all (wax moths don’t care much for wax without pollen or brood remnants (cocoons.)

Finally, I have opened up my Nuc list (click here). I notified everyone on my waiting list from last Spring (who didn’t get a Nuc) first, so they would have first shot. Right now, I probably have orders for around 13 Deeps and 15 Mediums. I will take orders for 20 Mediums and 35 Deeps before I close down the main list and move to a ‘waiting list’ only plan. Get on now, if you’re interested.

 

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