9 responses

  1. Phillip
    October 22, 2010

    I checked under the hood and noticed lots of condensation building up under the outer covers this morning (some earwigs too). So I cut two pieces of hard insulation to fit over the top hive feeders in both hives and placed them under the top covers. Neither hive is taking up much syrup. It’s below 10° C most days, so they’re just not making the move up to the feeders too fast. Plenty of drowned bees, but I’m not worried. Only another week until November. At this rate, I doubt either hive will be taking up much more syrup.

    I’m going to install the mouse-proof winter entrance reducers the next warm day we have. I’ll check to see if any mice are already in the hive first. (I’ve also pulled out large slugs from the bottom of the hives. Newfoundland is wonderful like that.)

    Then sometime in the first week of November, I’ll remove the top hive feeders, install the insulated inner hives covers (or I might just put a piece of insulation over the regular inner covers and be done with it) and wrap the hives in felt (or tar paper). And then I won’t touch them again until probably February 2011.

    That’s the tentative plan anyway.

  2. Greg
    January 17, 2012

    We just finished building 16 of your lid design. We left a 1.5 inch gap for the bees above the frames. When do you place these lids on? Are they able to winter the bees all through the winter or just early Feb onward? Currently my hives have an inner cover with screen empty box with burlap and the 1.5 inch polystyrene sheet on top of the burlap before the lid. Works great here. But I’m looking forward to the potential to feed early and safeguard against starvation.

    • Phillip
      January 18, 2012

      When do you place these lids on?

      This is only our second winter of beekeeping, but around here we put them sometime in November.

      Are they able to winter the bees all through the winter or just early Feb onward?

      We kept them on the hives from November to early April last year.

      I’m looking forward to the potential to feed early and safeguard against starvation.

      We added four pounds of dry sugar to each of our hives on Dec. 31 as a precaution. We’ll check them again sometime in February, though I’m not convinced they’re running low on honey. The hives seemed full of honey back in the fall.

  3. Jeff
    January 19, 2012


    I pulled the outer cover, Insulated cover(eke) then inner cover off several of my colonies last weekend when it was 5°C to take a quick peak. While the bees are are the top they have hardly made a dent into the candy cakes. It was good to see. If anything I have a concern they will have to much stores come spring and I need to get it out of the cells before things crystallize.

    I assume if the honey crystallized in the comb when the weather gets warm enough the bees will collect water to redissolve it? I hope.

  4. Phillip
    January 19, 2012

    I’ve seen my bees hanging off the bottom bars in the bottom box from time to time. So even though they’re also clustering over the top bars in the top box and eating some sugar, I don’t think they’re necessarily up there because they’re low on honey. They may be up there simply because it’s warmer up there. I wish I could see how much honey they have in the bottom box.

    I’ve read Canola honey will often crystallize in the comb. I suppose golden rod honey might do the same. I have no idea what bees do with crystallized honey in the comb, but millions of years of evolution have likely provided them with some kind of solution to it. Like you said, probably water to redissolve it.

    [A few minutes later…]

    Yup, it’s not a problem:


    “…the bees will expand, consume, and clean up the crystallized honey, nicely. If they truly have to expand in a hurry, they will carry the honey crystals and dump them outside the entrance of the hive on the ground.”

    At least that’s one beekeeper’s opinion.

  5. Jeff
    January 20, 2012

    Perfect, I have a couple of foundation frames left in the colonies that need to be drawn out. That gives the bees the chance to make some space and use up the resources. Also I plan to remove a couple of empty frames this spring to have some excess drawn foundation just in case.

    I’m hoping to have 12 – 14 drawn empty comb just in case.

  6. Jeff
    January 22, 2012

    He Phil,

    Started the Solar wax melter today. Only 3 months to go before the colts foot.

    • Phillip
      January 22, 2012

      That’s cool.

      Sorry I haven’t touched base lately. I’ve been run ragged with work. It’s feast and famine in this freelancing business. It tires me out sometimes.

  7. Phillip
    February 2, 2014

    I updated this post today, Feb. 02/14.

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