NZBF: Do I extract or leave for winter feed?

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Josh

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Don’t overthink it.

The honey you leave will be gone by next season. Honey’s not a static pantry, it’s used and replaced.

K.I.S.S.

I don’t trust myself to know when a hive is getting light, so tend to leave stores or feed up before winter.

Two boxes means if your late into the hives next spring, life/weather gets in the way it’s not a biggie.

Two brood boxes also affords you a swam prevention method in spring (box swap)

But you need the population to utilise the two boxes. A weak hive might be better in one, or merged to a strong hive and make it up next year.
 

Mummzie

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My question at this conjecture is, will the supers be emptied completely and therefore I won't need to worry about honey that could be collected whilst treatment for varroa is being carried out? Or do these supers basically be for feeding only and not used at all for next season honey flow?
It appears you have a concern about "treatment honey" and their boxes.
Why?

It would help if you were to post photographs of your hives, and the hive population.
The number of mouths to feed over the period the stores have to last will make a difference.
 
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Wellsford
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It appears you have a concern about "treatment honey" and their boxes.
Why?

It would help if you were to post photographs of your hives, and the hive population.
The number of mouths to feed over the period the stores have to last will make a difference.
It is my first season so am in that 'what happens next' phase. I literally have no idea apart from this forum and Practical Beek in NZ to garner any info. Haven't troubled my suppler yet. The hives are what I would call robust at present but that's only my estimate. I will get some pics. My thoughts at present are if the supers are packed to capacity they will start filling the brood box so having two would alleviate any space requirements? I've experienced swarming already in my first months of BK. Avoiding this by having 2 BB? I can see the sense in this.
Don’t overthink it.

The honey you leave will be gone by next season. Honey’s not a static pantry, it’s used and replaced.

K.I.S.S.

I don’t trust myself to know when a hive is getting light, so tend to leave stores or feed up before winter.

Two boxes means if your late into the hives next spring, life/weather gets in the way it’s not a biggie.

Two brood boxes also affords you a swam prevention method in spring (box swap)

But you need the population to utilise the two boxes. A weak hive might be better in one, or merged to a strong hive and make it up next year.
Thank you Josh I think in all aspects of life K.I.S.S. is a very good mantra to go by.
 
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maungaturoto
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As a hobbyist and in my first season I am at the mercy of information overload and how best to care for my bees. I thank everyone for their experienced comments and expertise. You can understand my confusion when bombarded with so much and there is the danger of 'Holy kaka what do I do now'!
I have just reread a recently received newsletter from the local club. An extract re wintering hives.

"Some beekeepers like to leave their bees with a ¾ size super of honey on top of the brood box for extra food for the bees over winter, but this is not necessary. The advantages are you will not need to feed the bees as much sugar syrup over winter and there is more goodness in the honey than the sugar. The disadvantages are : the honey is collected while the varroa treatment is in place leaving a chemical residue in the honey - there is more lifting every time you need to check the hive - next season the bees will have to fill the ¾ super before they can fill other honey supers and so you will get less honey for yourself. I find by feeding the bees regularly, I do not lose any hives over winter because if I see a hive that hasn’t taken down all its sugar syrup, I know it is getting weak and needs attention. Whereas, when a honey super is left on a hive beekeepers tend not to check them regularly."

Sound comments.

As I have two hives I can try the single brood box and double brood box and see what happens. Both supers are presently full to the brim so if there is any more honey collecting it will be in the brood boxes.

My question at this conjecture is, will the supers be emptied completely and therefore I won't need to worry about honey that could be collected whilst treatment for varroa is being carried out? Or do these supers basically be for feeding only and not used at all for next season honey flow?

first thing is be aware that clubs can have meh beeks running them and can give poor advice.

the 2nd is you don't feed hives over winter. winter is not the danger time for lack of feed. even in the warm north, they simply do not use much.
the danger time is spring. where people get caught out is spring is on them before they know it and are running late.

get any feeding done before winter. if in doubt leave extra on. treatment in the honey (which they will eat) is not a big deal. certainly not one to risk killing a hive over.

we are talking 3/4 boxes here so bare minimum is go into winter with TWO brood boxes full. none of this "try it with one" stuff. you don't need to kill hives to learn something (think of the poor bees!). having a 3rd full of stores is perfectly fine.

its a fair bit of work for bees to work sugar every time they are fed and winter bees are not really suited to it (they are longer lived bees).
so the idea is you use the worker bees to pack feed away before the hives reduces for winter (which is what bees do anyway). those bees are going to die off anyway, might as well have them do useful stuff before they go.
once the hive has reduced down to winter size, you want as less work for them as possible. so no opening hives, feeding etc.
set them up for winter then leave them alone.

one of the other problems of winter feed is it stimulates brood rearing. you build up the hive over winter. come spring you have a hive bursting at the seams and, especially in your area, you will run straight into swarming issues.
 
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Bron

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I’ll just jump in and say, we run double brood full depth boxes all year round. They swarm! Sometimes just because rather than the lack of space. In the days when 3 of us ran single full depth broods, it was a lot of work. Make life easy for yourself. 2 3/4 make a good brood space as everyone else has suggested.

Make your bees happy and your bee keeping enjoyable and your neighbours happy by not having to retrieve your bees when they run out of room, they will if they don’t have enough room in the spring. 2 broods + 1 honey super with an excluder in between.

Let them keep their honey box they made it, you don’t need it. Why would you feed them sugar if they’ve already made their own winter tucker.

Get your strips in the brood boxes ASAP. Or you wont have any bees come spring. Check your strips are working & they still have food then leave them alone, they don’t need bee bothering when they’re hunkered down for winter.

Good luck
 


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