Winter chores in the hive

October 22, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

EntranceReducer

The weather is definitely autumnal around here. Veronica’s
beehive is sporting a snazzy entrance reducer to reduce the possibility of
robbing as the neighborhood bees search out unprotected honey for their winter stores.  And we’ve got work to do to prepare our hives before winter descends.

Our checklist goes something like this:

1. Do a mite count.

We did. Veronica has 120 mites in 48 hours (we forgot to
take the board out). Not good, but not hideous, especially since we haven’t
used any controls other than a drone frame trap this summer. We’ll be treating for
mites, and soon.

2. Squash the small
hive beetles
.

Veronica’s covered with these disgusting creatures. We
squash them when we see them, but we’ve got to figure out some kind of trap
that actually works.

3. Make sure the bees
are moving into a winter cluster.

Califia’s bees are clustering towards the entrance of her
top bar hive, leaving the the rear of the hive empty. It’s awe inspiring to run your finger
along the observation window glass and feel the change in temperature—the glass
is nice and warm where the girls are huddled, and chilly at the rear of the
hive. We still have to remove the honey super from Veronica (it’s mostly empty since we took most of the honey in the middle of September) and we want to make sure
everything is ready for winter inside the brood boxes.

4. Make sure both
hives have enough honey to last through winter.

We’re not too worried about this. Our Mediterranean climate
means we pretty much have flowers blooming year round.

In fact, in the San Francisco Bay Area, winter mostly means
you wear a hoodie over your tank top. We just don’t have really cold weather.
We’re curious how beekeepers keep their bees warm and happy in places where it
actually snows.

Readers, if you’ve got an apiary, what do you do to ready your bees for winter? Comment on our blog, or on our Facebook page, and I’ll collect them
into a post for next week.

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