Are your bees snuggled into their hives with plenty of stores to see them through the winter? Do you have a healthy queen with a small, but solid brood pattern? Do you have some weak hives that might not make it through the winter?
These are things you need to be looking for as the winter storms begin to roll in. Weak hives can be combined to make one strong hive. You might even add some honey frames that you have saved back, or take them from strong hives that can spare them so other strong hives that need a boost in stores have what they need to get through the winter.
A good wind break is always helpful and some people wrap their hives with tar paper, but if you do, be careful not to close them up so tight they don’t breath and don’t make the mistake of closing up your hives so the bees cant get out for cleansing flights. As your bees burn through their honey they will produce moisture that condenses on the inside of the hive. You do not want this dripping down on the bees as it will kill them. A simple solution is to slide a small piece of wood 3/4 of an inch thick or so (but no larger than an inch think) under the back of the hive so the moisture that collects inside will run to the front and down the front wall of the hive. Also make sure you have your mouse guards in place. Mice can quickly make a mess of any hive.
Here are some interesting temperature guidelines for different bee activities.
- 93-94 brood nest temp for eggs and young bees
- 68 queen does not fly
- 61 drones cannot fly
- 57 the winter cluster forms
- 50 workers cannot fly
- 40 bees die if alone
I’ve been busy preparing for the classes I will teach beginning this January. They will encompass a full season of beekeeping. For the local folk out there who have been following along, if you are interested in taking these classes please contact me at – firstname.lastname@example.org
We will begin with the basics and later move into the more complex. Classes will be held near one of my bee yards so you can get hands on experience and learn how to do a hive inspection and gain an understand what you are looking at.