December 13, 2014, Saturday
Between work and the holidays, my free time has disappeared, and so I’m playing catchup on my bee journal.
The weather changes every few days around here – 60’s and sunny one day, then below 30’s and bitter cold. I don’t mind that because the girls get opportunities to get out and about and I can check on their statuses. I confess that during the winter I never quite know what’s going on, and I’m never an optimist. Anything can happen at any time.
Possible Issues with Purple Hive
Everyone is still flying about during warm spurts, but I have noticed that Purple Hive has a lot more dead bees coming out of the hive than the others, and Mint Hive doesn’t appear to have much activity at all. When I lift the lids, I see bees in all hives but Purple Hive. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dying out because they may be toward the bottom staying warm. Candy has been consumed and they are cleaning house regularly, so there is activity. I just have to sit back and hope for the best until the weather turns warm enough to warrant further investigation.
I hadn’t shown off our winter wind breakers this year. Last year’s wind breakers were very effective, but a bit tedious to put up and maintain. This year we went with a simpler approach. My husband owns a large format printing business, which means he has access to coroplast and metal frames that stick in the ground. He used thick 1/2 inch 4 ft x 6 ft sheets of coroplast to form a barrier around the outside of the hives. This creates an easy, inexpensive and effective wind breaker.
I don’t wrap hives, mainly because I believe that hives need to breath and that wrapping prevents that, causing ventilation issues. If we lived in Canada or Vermont, then yes, I would probably wrap. But with our warmer climate, although we have cold spurts and snow, I don’t think it warrants wrapping. Wind breakers help tremendously for keeping out the cold and they’re much easier to work around.
Bees can manage in the cold – moisture is a bigger problem.
Candy Making Party
I mentioned that they’re eating candy. In November our bee club had our annual Candy Making Party. I love the candy making party. Always a fun time to get better acquainted with other beekeepers, ask questions and learn. Click here to check out our candy recipe. The bees seem to enjoy the candy and since the party, I’ve already replenished their supply. Some feel that candy is for emergency feeding. True, but I don’t think it hurts to keep it in the hives during the winter to ensure they always have food. If they don’t need it, they won’t eat it, it’s a simple as that. I supplemented with candy all winter last year and had two very healthy hives come through with flying colors.
One lesson I learned is NOT to cover the top of the frames with candy because this inhibits ventilation. This year I placed the candy across the front third of the hive on the side where the morning sun first hits. This helps soften the candy and allows plenty of room for air to circulate.
So there you have a two month update in a nutshell. Bees, winterization and candy…oh my! Hope everyone’s girls are hanging in there through this cold and blustery time of year. Expect the worst and hope for the best…that’s my motto!
I am looking forward to the quiet time to catch up on indoor activities like reading up on my strategies for the coming year, cleaning equipment, and making homemade lotions and potions. Stay tuned for fun recipes and how to’s.
Best wishes from all of the BooBees at BooBee Honey for a bee-utiful, happy holiday season!!!