How are your bees doing? This is the time of year when many hives are lost, so be sure to check on them and get them some sugar if the honey supply is low.
During a warm day in this winter weather, take a minute to check on your bees. Lifting the cover quickly and taking a quick peek inside won’t hurt them. If they are all hanging around the inner cover they may be out of food. Another way to check them is to lift your hive to see if it is light. If you do need to feed your bees, a sugar board is a good supplement. Check out Max’s recipe on our Facebook page. There are also many other recipes online that you can try. Or you can order sugar boards from beekeeping suppliers. Try to place a warm (90 to 100 degrees) sugar board in the hive so that it will not be such a shock to the hive. You will need a 2 inch spacer box to make space for the sugar board. Visit our Facebook page for the photo gallery.
I was still feeding sugar water to my bees this week (November 1st). On Monday I refilled them, and they have most of the sugar water gone as of Wednesday. Next week when it gets cold I will remove the sugar water and winterize the hives, moving some of them to the south side of an old barn (with an overhanging roof of 15 feet) to protect them from the north and west. A few other hives will be placed together with a polystyrene cover and wrapped with tar paper. I will also be trying a “moisture blanket” on some hives to reduce moisture and improve circulation inside the hives.
Happy bee keeping!
Fall maintenance is underway for the beehives. A few items on your to-do list:
• Reduce the size of the hive. Take the top boxes off and stand them on end in front of your hive. Your bees will get the honey out of these frames and pack it away in the brood boxes.
• Feed your bees. A sugar water feeder should be installed on the hive. Make the mixture of 1 part water to 2 parts sugar (or 8# sugar to 1 gal. water). Keep feeding the mixture until the bees stop taking it into the hive.
• It is getting cold and mice are looking for warm and dry places to spend the winter!! Be sure you have your mouse excluders in.
These steps ensure that the bees will have adequate food stores and space inside the hive for the winter months.