As the temperatures start to drop and the days get shorter, beekeepers know it’s time to start preparing their hives for winter. This is an essential step in ensuring the health and survival of your bees throughout the colder months. Here are some tips on how to properly prepare your bee hives for winter.
- Check for mites and diseases before winter sets in, it’s crucial to inspect your hives for any signs of mites or diseases. They can be particularly destructive to hives during the winter months when the bees are already stressed from the cold weather. Treat any infestations or diseases promptly to ensure the health of your hive.
- Reduce entrance size In order to keep your hive warm during the winter. This helps to prevent drafts from entering the hive and makes it easier for the bees to regulate the temperature inside. Use an entrance reducer to block off a portion of the entrance, leaving only a small gap for the bees to enter and exit.
- Provide adequate food during the winter as bees rely on their stored food reserves to survive. Make sure your leave sufficient honey stores in the hive to last through the winter. You can supplement their food with sugar syrup or fondant if necessary: 50/50 white sugar and water for syrup, and pollen substitute to make patties. We also supplement with bee super-greens to ensure they are getting all essential vitamins and minerals they would normally find when foraging.
- Insulate the hive insulating your hive can help to keep your bees warm and dry throughout the winter. Wrap the hive in a layer of insulation, such as a bee cozy or foam board. Make sure to leave the entrance unobstructed, and extend beyond the entrance to offer further protection.
- Keep the hive dry, as moisture is a common problem for bee hives during the winter months. Condensation can form inside the hive, leading to mold and mildew growth, and possibly chalkbrood. To prevent this, provide proper ventilation and install a moisture board or absorbent material to absorb any excess moisture.
- During the winter, it’s important to periodically check on your hive to ensure the health and well-being of your bees. Check for signs of activity, such as bees clustering together for warmth. Listen for buzzing and check for any unusual smells or condensation.
Preparing your bee hives for winter requires careful attention to detail and a bit of planning. By following these tips, you can help ensure the health and survival of your bees throughout the colder months, setting them up for success come springtime.