Bee Keeping here I come!


Good luck overwintering your bees. Prices for spring replacement bees have escalated since I kept bees. I would always overwinter my bees in either two deep chambers or a deep plus a super on top. If they were heavy at this time of the year it was rare that I had to supplement their food in early spring. The most critical time for starvation is early spring while they are rapidly expanding the bee population. Keep a close check on the hive weight at that time. Rarely did I have a hive starve with this method. Someone else could better advise about Med needs. Hope they survive. Bill


Well I took most of my honey today, I’ve got 19 medium super frames ready to be extracted. Not a very fun job, I got stung through my gloves several times on both wrists and a number of times just above where the good Lord split me. I’m sure it was less fun for the bees however. I left the deep super alone, I didn’t see much capped honey down there. Gave them some sugar, though I’m sure they have no chance to make it through a Minnesota winter. I’ll probably check the hive around Christmas and harvest any leftover honey the old school way (funnel and strainer). This was only my second year of doing bee’s. Their numbers were much higher this fall than last fall. I was surprised being I lost half of them this year in June to swarming, must have been a good queen. . .


Well, my bees are dead and it isn’t even winter yet. I think it was mostly my fault. After my son took the third super off and put them all into two supers I didn’t close down the entrance and I had noticed a lot of yellow jackets around the entrance when I was putting on sugar syrup. I’m pretty sure they killed enough bees that they couldn’t survive. They had swarmed this summer so it wasn’t a nice full hive like I had last year. Will have to buy another nuc or maybe the swarm from my hive will survive. Will need some for pollination next spring.

My son was on the top of a 16’ extension ladder up a pine tree to get the swarm from mine and he has it at his house in only one super. They might make it in one box if we have a milder winter.


if there is honey still in the boxes, combine frames into a single box, then take it to your son’s hive and give it to them.


Great idea, I hadn’t thought about doing that now. Was going to use it in the spring. Thank you


WHen you say you should have closed down the entrance, please clarify. Should I put my reducers across the entrance of my hives for winter?

I didn’t do that last year, which may be part of why I lost all my bees. I also didn’t put the plastic board across the very, very bottom of my hives last year. I will this year. But when I told our local bK club that I had failed to do that last year, I was surprised to hear the people I trust say they doubted that had much to do with me loosing my bees. Some of them don’t even use those bottom boards for winter. They said further north they are important, but here in TN they don’t think they are critical. Hmmm???

Anyway, I had never heard to close entrances during winter, so please let me know if I should do that? Thanks.


Your loss of bees was a failure to requeen after the swarm. Yellowjackets can’t/won’t rob a healthy, queenright colony. If the bees swarmed after June, the swarm will not have enough time to build up population to collect stores and build overwintering bees. Old beekeepers saying,“Swarm in May, worth a load of hay, swarm in June, worth a silver spoon, swarm in July, not worth a fly.” Save any stores for your nuc in the spring.

You don’t close entrances, you reduce them. Even after taking all the honey and leaving open screened bottoms in Iowa, 25% of colonies still survived. Cold doesn’t kill bees, winter moisture does!


I should have said reduce not close. They did have queen cells and had a new queen within a few weeks.


OK, thanks to you both. I also appreciate what you said about the open screened bottoms probably not being a killer, especially here in TN. Thats what I’d been told and I’m glad to get it confirmed. I cursed myself all summer because I felt like I killed my bees by not putting that board on the bottom last year. Nice to know something else probably did it! (Of course it was still probably my fault! ha).

I have reducers so it sounds like I should put them on


I know by now lots of people are planning to add on colonies which means more boxes and frames. Wanted to mention a nail gun & stapler can be a handy thing if your putting together a bunch of equipment. It’s all been said before If your feeling ambitious and tired of paying shipping on hives you can use a beehive as a template and make your own boxes and and and It’s winter time which is a perfect time to build boxes and get ready for spring!


Especially if you have a nice, new, big barn!


That’s true a new barn is nice. It was keeping heat pretty good in there today.


We’re not going to keep any heat here, Tues high of 12.


Stay warm maybe you can put off building boxes until January is over. I suspect since your a couple hours farther north you know just how cold this next month is going to be. It gets down right nasty here so I was hustling to get that barn finished before this stuff hit. I finished that project just in front of this nasty weather! It will be 9 degrees here in a couple of days.


well, I’ve been following this thread for awhile. thought bee keeping was much simpler but the way I’m meticulous it will take too much time , money and worry. i want to raise pollinators for my fruits but i think I’m just going to place nesting boxes and buy cocoons for mason and leaf cutter bees. no honey but much better pollinators in my climate. i already have brush piles and ground boxes for the bumble bees to nest in. honey bees just aren’t hardy enough up here to warrant me investing the time and money in them. good luck to the rest of you!


I know about Italians, Carniolans, Caucasians, and even German black honey bees but I don’t know about Russian honeybees. My understanding is they have significantly better mite resistance. What do you know about them?


Two very interesting articles. Thanks



I need some advice from beekeepers:

THe last 2 years when I have bought bee packages to put in my empty hives, all of my frames inside those hives have had new wax foundations. This year, I have a whole bunch of frames that have empty honeycomb already built on both sides. I’ve tried to research if I can use this or if there is an advantage in doing so, but about all I have found is that there is a chance of passing on foulbrood but otherwise it is a good thing to use predrawn frames. Is that true? Foulbrood is supposed to be rare in my area and I’m pretty sure I’ve never had it, so I think that is unlikely to be a problem.

I have looked at each of my frames that have empty honeycomb and they all look pretty clean and no visible bugs or anything (I know some things aren’t visible to naked eye like mites). Also, I really haven’t done anything to disinfect them and I’m inclined not to. The only thing I see a bit usual (to me) is than the comb is a very dark color on some, not the white or very light tan color new honeycomb has in summertime.

what say you all? Can I fill my first 2 boxes with frames that have last years comb already built on both sides or should I use new frames again.


this is not a constructive post at all, but i feel this is necessary to the conversation. . . foulbrood sound like medieval fantasy problem creatures, like orcs and goblins. :grin:


You can use them. I use to uncap and sling the honey out with an extractor. The comb being already built will give the bees more time for collecting nectar.