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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Midlothian, Texas
    Posts
    22

    Default Winter prep in Texas?

    I live in Texas close to Dallas, and it's just starting to be less than 100 degrees daily. However, we don't get much of an autumn, and winter usually arrives with a sudden cold front so I'm wanting to get ready for winter. I've had my bees since May and they're doing great, but this is my first winter. I have a screened bottom that I'll need to cover, and I was wondering what else I needed to do and when I should put a solid bottom on? Is there a certain temperature when it becomes necessary to start insulating them, like below 60, something like that? I noticed most people who post are in the northern states so I haven't seen much info for the south. Thanks for any advice!
    Kim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kingsland, Ga
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Winter prep in Texas?

    I'm also a very new bee keeper so keep this in mind! I'm in extreme southeast Georgia on the coast just before you get into Florida. Our climates are similar except for the humidity. I lived in Ft. Worth for a while and helped a friend with his bees. We usually waited till we noticed the foragers slowing down, but generally around the 50 degree mark. It would get a little colder from time to time but as long as it wasn't consistently cold the bees seemed to go about their business. Last year I had to open the hive to visually see them clustering before I closed up the bottom board, covered my inner/outer cover screens and reduced the entrance. The hive seemed to stay so busy that I never got a handle on when to "help" them. I didn't lose any last year but it's hard to claim a victory when something goes right. This bee thing seems to be in a world of it's own.

    I'd stick with the 50 degree rule. When temps get down, and stay down you might want to take action. When cold fronts move in and rapidly drop the temp for a short time I don't think the bees care too much. They cluster, but as soon as the front moves on they go back to work. Of course, it all depends on flow, environmental conditions we can't detect (bees are more in tune to barometric drops and weather predictions than we are), yard management, humidity and a hundred other things that we don't consider.

    Just keep in mind that all the "help" we give is just to try to increase survivability. You could probably do nothing and the bees would do just fine! At our latitude we don't have as much to worry about. But it's good you're concerned and staying involved with the girls. Work with them. Watch them. Let them tell you when they're done for the year.

    Ken

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Midlothian, Texas
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Winter prep in Texas?

    Awesome, that helps a lot! I didn't know if I needed to run out there anytime the nights got chilly and wrap them up or only worry when it's consistently cold for awhile. They seem really busy right now and I don't want to restrict them or block air flow if I don't have to. I think I'll devise something to strap onto the bottom so I'll have it ready when I need it, but it sounds like it will be a few months yet. Thanks for the advice!
    Kim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kingsland, Ga
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Winter prep in Texas?

    No problem. I have a groove in the bottom board just above the screen so when it's time to prep for cold weather or when I want to isolate the hive for some reason I just slide in a board that I have precut and stored in the bee barn. IMO, try not to "baby" the girls too much Don't spoil them or they'll "get lazy" (sorry, running gag here). It's good for the bees, like everything else, to learn to be hardy and they will tolerate what nature throws at them.....within reason! Hurricanes here mean more intervention....drought and excessive heat where you're at might require a helping hand. Sounds like you're doing a good job.

    BTW, it's funny that I was just on a Dodge forum talking about transmissions when I ran across someone from Midlothian, Tx! Don't run across that town very often.

    Ken

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Midlothian, Texas
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Winter prep in Texas?

    Yeah, from everything I've been reading it sounds like the same thing you're saying, let them get through the best they can with little intervention. We want the best bees to survive; survival of the fittest! And Midlothian is growing, so you might hear of us more often!

    Kim

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