Beemused: A Blog

Preparing the hives for winter

13th October 2007

Preparing the hives for winter

It looks like we’ll be doing the hive “winterizing” tomorrow. We plan to install the mouse guards in the hive entrances; inspect the hive bodies to see what the stores for winter and the brood nest look like; and give the girls more syrup, this time with the diarrhea-preventative in it. We may install the hive wraps, too, though it’s a bit early for that- they give the hives extra insulation that helps keep them warm inside over the winter, no matter what the weather’s like.

This will probably be our last chance for inspecting the interiors of the hives until next spring, so we want to be thorough. It will help that we got plugs of proper smoker fuel, so we’ll be able to smoke the hives and make such examination less fraught with danger!

I expect there will be pictures, in time. I’m hoping that all 3 hives look good, and that we can bring them through the winter successfully. If the stores are low, we still have time to feed them, so that’s good. We can even put some feeders inside the hive, which will make syrup somewhat easier to access even in the winter. Italians are less good at taking advantage of this than Russians, but if they have outer frames with nothing much in them, I’m inclined to replace such with syrup reservoirs.

This is rather anxiety-producing. We’re hoping to bring all 3 hives through the winter successfully- and we have not done this before, and so will feel any failure. Although, statistically, osing 1 of the hives would be not unexpected! but I hope we can pull all 3 girls through, and good data from the inspection tomorrow will help with that.

-Amanda

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6th October 2007

Robbing the Bees: Honey Harvest Photos

Some pictures from our recent adventures: Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd October 2007

Robber girls: bees robbing honey frames

But not in the bad sense!

Since when we robbed the bees/harvested the supers, there were a number of frames without capped honey in them, we figured we’d put those back outside and let the girls “rob” or harvest what was in them. So today I put out a frame which was semi-full but uncapped on one side, and fairly full and maybe a third capped on the other side.

I hadn’t put it out for more than a half minute or so before the first bee found it. She immediately started chowing down, and was quickly joined by a couple more that happened by. *nom*nom*nom*

I went grocery shopping then, and an hour and a half later when I got back, the entire frame was packed side to side with bees! There was a bee per cell, grabbing as much honey as they could manage, then ferrying it back to their hives. And a half hour after that- there were hardly any bees on it again; they’d grabbed everything grab-able.

They are efficient!

Tomorrow I plan to put out frames that are less enticing- they’ve got some stuff, but not nearly as much (these are from Susan, who was not as insanely overproductive as Mary and Liz). Even Susan, though, made several frames that we can use; I think we’ll experiment with low-tech extracting with them, both since they’re less capped, and since the uncapped state is not as much a problem for mead-making as it would be for storage. I do want to use some honey from all 3 hives in the mead, though!

Meanwhile: I’ve emailed Betterbee about the fairly compact extractor that will also work with top-bar and other fragile combs, but haven’t heard back yet. We need to place an order with them; we really need mouse guards for the hives before winter hits (these restrict the entrance both to minimize heat loss and, because they’re metal, to prevent mice from finding the hives a cozy winter home). There’s some other stuff that looks pretty interesting, too- of course!

One sign of a really good hobby is the amount of STUFF it enables one to shop for. :P

-Amanda

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