Winter chores in the hive
The weather is definitely autumnal around here. Veronica’sbeehive is sporting a snazzy entrance reducer to reduce the possibility ofrobbing 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 totake the board out). Not good, but not hideous, especially since we haven’tused any controls other than a drone frame trap this summer. We’ll be treating formites, and soon.
2. Squash the smallhive beetles.
Veronica’s covered with these disgusting creatures. Wesquash them when we see them, but we’ve got to figure out some kind of trapthat actually works.
3. Make sure the beesare moving into a winter cluster.
Califia’s bees are clustering towards the entrance of hertop bar hive, leaving the the rear of the hive empty. It’s awe inspiring to run your fingeralong the observation window glass and feel the change in temperature—the glassis nice and warm where the girls are huddled, and chilly at the rear of thehive. 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 sureeverything is ready for winter inside the brood boxes.
4. Make sure bothhives have enough honey to last through winter.
We’re not too worried about this. Our Mediterranean climatemeans we pretty much have flowers blooming year round.
In fact, in the San Francisco Bay Area, winter mostly meansyou 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 itactually 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 theminto a post for next week.