>>How do I prevent these "dumb" girls from doing this again and how do I clean up the covers they messed up??
Perhaps it is the dumb beekeeper distroying all the work bees have done...
The bees propolize in August because that is natures way. In a feral colony, August is the last best opportunity to recaulk the windows. The ability to gather propolis in September is not assured in a place like Minnesota/Wisconsin. As temperatures drop and the ability of the bee to gather and work propolis also diminishes. The bees in nature must make their abode "winter tight" by late August, or they may fail in this endeavor and perish from the cold winds of coming winter.
I've posted some of the same pictures noted before and some of my observations at:
I actually have given my bees water and plug any upward ventilation during the winter!
It's quite contrary to what has been popularly recommended but fits in well with the bees natural bent and my climate.
Some beekeepers feel that their bees would die without their intervention. It's an interesting notion and I think it's kind of a logical extension from not wanting to hurting the bees, to wanting to help the bees, to thinking the bees can't live without us.
It reflects more on the beekeepers state of mind than on the state of the bee and we've all experienced it. For the bee has survived eons without us and we have to labor to keep them in our hives, else they will leave and prosper elsewhere.
I think the key to successful beekeeping is to get comfortable with the bees and then watch how they behave. Then not interfer any more than is necessary.
Bees are tough and adaptable. It's very hard to kill them unless the broodnest is disrupted or they run out of food. Left alone they do quite well.
From my experience and climate, winter moisture is not a problem. Lack of winter moisture can be a problem. Colonies don't die from excessive moisture in my climate. But excessive moisture is symptomatic of a dying colony.
Hey, Erwin. I would go with bees and leave the holes plugged up. I've got about a dozen swarm boards with all the holes plugged the same way. At least I didn't have to buy any duct tape and plug them up myself :> )
Best Regards and Don't Sweat It
[This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited August 27, 2003).]
[This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited August 07, 2004).]
I agree with Dennis. I have read all the texts that indicate that moisture in the hive in the Winter is a bad thing. I certainly am no authority on this subject, but my experience has been that it is not a big issue. I live in Mobile, AL and haven't kept bees anywhere else so my experience is limited. But it is pretty humid down here. On the other hand it doesn't often get cold and never gets REALLY cold. That said, I have colonies with SBB's, colonies with solid bottoms, colonies with an upper entrance either manmade or from an ill fitting box or lid, and some that are airtight. In all cases I find that a colony that is healthy going into Winter does fine.
Thats another decision I have to make soon.
Do I leave the SBB under for the winter or do I take them out soon and put them back in spring???
What do others of you in mid Minnesota climate do???
I should have read Dasies post from earlier today first. I will follow this subject there.
Dave Cushman, a progressive beekeeper in England responded to my request for more observations of winter hive moisture.
He did essentially the same thing some time ago and got the same results as I detailed on my webpage. England is about as different a climate for moisture as you can get from Wyoming. The sizes and types of hives are different. Yet the bees behave the same regarding upper ventilation and the amount and distribution of winter condensation is the same.
Maybe all that press concerning "winter moisture" is more a truism than a universal truth.