Getting The Honeybees Ready For Winter

We’re still getting ready for winter here.    The barn is now full of wood for the woodboiler.  This will last us into next season.   The woodboiler heats the guest house and our primary house as well as providing hot water in both houses.  It’s a very warm heat.

 

Barn Full of Wood

It makes me feel secure when I look at the barn.   Country people like being self sufficient. As I write this, our generator is self-testing–sounds like a train coming but I don’t mind! After seeing the news of what is happening in the northeast following Hurricane Sandy, I’m grateful once again that we have it.   Our powerlines run through heavily-treed areas, and even with the aggressive tree trimming that took place this summer, an ice storm or heavy snow would leave us without power for days.

It’s also time to do some winterizing on the beehives preparing for harsh weather. During the honey flow season, we keep the bottom of the hive open so that bees may easily get in and out during their frequent foraging trips.   Gotta make sure they can get the pollen and nectar in for yummy honey.   As it got cooler last month, we inserted a spacer in the bottom which limited the access to about three inches.    This was to keep mice out of the hives yet still allow a fairly easy exit and entrance for this season’s remaining foraging.

Have No 2 November

I’ll use the same spacer, but I’ll turn it so that the opening is very tiny. Here’s a picture of the spacer.

Entry Spacer

Can you see the small entrance and the larger entrance?  The small one is for cold winter weather and the large one is for fall when the temperatures are just starting to get a bit cooler and, as mentioned above, mice are hunting a warm spot. We don’t want mice in our honey!!! Yuck!

Here’s the same photo with more description. Look what I’m learning to do in Photoscape!

Entrance and Exit Opening

And here is the photo of the beehive winterized.

Winterized Bee Hive

When I was working with this hive, I found an alarming number of dead bees just inside the entrance.  This hive has been strong, and I’d just been working with it three or four weeks ago when I put the spacer in for fall.  No cause for alarm at that time.  Now, however, I’m worried.

There are still live bees in the hive, but why so many dead ones in the entrance area?

We’ll be looking back in this hive next weekend. I’ll let you know what we find.   I hope, pray that my bees will be healthy.

I don’t want to see this.

Dead Bee

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage, and thank you for supporting local beekeepers!

 

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Comments

  1. I need more honey so hope all is well.

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