Sunday, September 24, 2017
my honeybees - preparing for winter
I'm in the process of preparing my honeybee hives for winter. I have two hives on the far side of my vegetable garden nearest the pond. They're on the northeast side of the yard with a southwest exposure. The bees for both hives were added in early April, since both hives died last winter. One hive is much stronger than the other. The strong one has about 70 lbs of honey, while the weak one about 30-40 lbs. I'm guessing here from lifting the boxes. (Hives should have a good 70 lbs of honey stores going into the winter.)
This is what I've done and am planning to do for winter:
- Removed super and extracted honey: In early September I removed one full super (a short box with 10 frames for building comb and filling it with honey) from my strong hive. I took about 15 lbs of honey from this box.
- Fed weak hive: I've been feeding my weak hive so it can build up its honey stores for winter. There aren't many flowers left now, the goldenrod is gone. I only see the late aster in bloom now. I feed them sugar water.
Planning to do
- Get bigger feeding bucket: I've been feeding the weak hive about a liter at a time, but they eat it so fast I can't keep up with the. The bucket seems always empty. So I'm planning to add a bigger container of sugar water.
- Build a box to absorb winter condensation: I'm planning to build a box (called a quilt box) that sits at the top inside the hive and insulates, helps with airflow, and absorbs moisture. It's my guess I lost my hives last year because of condensation dripping into the cluster of bees.
After this, they should be ready to go for winter. At least as ready as I can get them. Of course, I can always use advice. I've been keeping bees 3 years now, and have plenty more to learn.
More bee stuff: Kathy's Bees