Winter Prep

As the weather cools down, we wanted to check the colonies to make sure they were well-provisioned for the winter weather.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that most hives had a sizable cluster of bees.  However, several were still pretty light on food.  

Apiary in winter. Hives surrounded by snow.

We have a lot of issues with robbing at our Easton Yard and so we try to never feed liquid.  Whenever we’ve done that in the past, it has quickly set off a feeding frenzy.  Because of this, we usually feed soft sugar cakes.  

We put a sheet of newspaper directly on the top bars.  Then, in a bin, we mix together dry sugar with a thick sugar syrup.  We stir it up with our hive tool until its a nice moldable consistency.  We press sugar cakes down onto the top of the hive and cover the bees back up with our double-screened inner covers, being sure to press down hard so there aren’t gaps between the hive bodies.  

Those of you who listened to New Bees/Special Topics last month know that the remainder of our winter prep consists of placing a small stick on the front edge of this inner cover so that there is a slight gap to vent out any excess moisture.  Sticks were placed under the outer cover a couple of months ago so that each time we go in, we can determine if the stick is doing its job sufficiently.  Moisture on the lid…get a bigger stick.

All the hives are already equipped with solid bottom boards, mouse guards and entrances reduced down as far as possible.  

Cool temps are upon us.  Now it’s up to the bees!