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Thread: winter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Noble County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default winter

    Hello!
    I guess my first year as a beekeeper is winding down
    Does anyone have any tips or advice for me to help get my bees through the winter so I can enjoy my second year? Thanks very much!
    ~the girl who made a treaty with the bees~

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,765

    Default Re: winter

    Lot's of places to begin so I'll just hit the basics of what I do.

    - No mice. Just before the freezing weather I sweep the bottom board to make sure that there are no mice in the hive already and then I add a mouse guard in front. Lot's of different guards and ways to close the entrance up so I'll let you research that.

    - No cold drafts. Although most of my hives have un-blocked screened bottom boards all winter long, I do add a burlap "wall" behind the hives to block cold winds. It's quick to put up using stakes and it leaves a nice cushion of dead air behind wintering hives. Easy to take out in the spring as well.

    - No starving. Feed if you need to in the fall.

    - No "iffy" hives. Take your losses in the fall and be ready for the spring. Combine weak (and un-diseased) hives if you need to.

    There's a lot more to cover such as whether or not you want to wrap your hives. I don't but I have one at an outyard in the shade that I might try wrapping this winter. Treating various pests and diseases is an issue that may still be something to handle this late in the year.

    Finally, plan for next year. Do you want to get more bees? Packages or nucs? Do you want to split? Do you want or need more equipment (the difference between wanting and needing stuff is so great)? Do you want to try a different race of bee? Winter is a good time for reflecting, reading and planning and sometimes, what you do when the bees are out there waiting for spring is the most important thing you can do for them all year long.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Limestone, Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: winter

    Check their honey stores and make sure they have enough. Feed if too light.
    Make sure the colony is queenright and has enough bees to keep the cluster warm, combine weak colonies if necessary. Prevent moisture that forms as condensate from dripping back onto the bee cluster. Upper ventilation will help with this. Reduce the entrance or install mouse guards. Good luck!

    bees@mysite.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Killington,VT
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: winter

    "Prevent moisture that forms as condensate from dripping back onto the bee cluster. Upper ventilation will help with this."

    I was wondering - I have a Styrofoam top feeder (BetterBee) on my hive. When the bees have stopped feeding, and the syrup's gone, I'm thinking that leaving the feeder on with the plexiglass divider removed may have some benefits, particularly if I put an inner cover on top with an upper exit for them and the moist air below the telescoping cover.

    My thinking is that the warm air will rise into the pan area and some will exit the top opening. Most of that which condenses will only drip back into the syrup container and not onto the cluster. I could have some dry sugar in the pan to absorb this moisture and the bees could access it when the conditions are warm enough. The styrofoam should insulate the hive top a bit too.

    Any experience with this idea or thoughts in general about it?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    507

    Default Re: winter

    hello,i tilt my hive forward alittle so the condensation travels to the wall.full sun if possible till dark.So hive can warm and bees can move if needed.

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