Sunday, October 15, 2006

Prepping the bees for winter

We did some of the final preparations of the bee hive for winter this week. Our recent inspection showed so much stored honey and nectar that we decided a fall feeding was unnecessary. After the bees filled all available space in the deep frames with honey, they must have got busy building burr comb in nearly every crack and crevice and filling them up. When we pulled the frames to inspect the upper deep, we cracked some of this burr comb and the honey leaked out below. The picture below shows the view down inside the upper deep box, with some of the spilled honey. The capped honey can be seen on the outside frame. Some of the burr comb also remains between adjacent frames.

So with plenty to eat, we needed to focus on treating for the mites. Still being new to this, we chose to go with a natural product and stayed away from the chemical fumigation processes. We chose to go with Apiguard, but some shipping problems delayed our installation until the weather cooled off last week. We began the treatment on October 10th.

We also added some top ventilation to the hive in the form of a homemade 1”x 2” spacer that sits directly above the upper deep box, just below the inner cover. I notched a portion of it to match the middle opening of a standard entrance reducer. This opening sits at the top of the hive, increasing ventilation and air-space above the hive, and makes room for the Apiguard tray. The bees can also learn to use this as a secondary entrance while it is installed.

Finally we installed the mouse-guard entrance reducer. This is a metal cover for the main hive opening that is tacked in place and has small holes for the bees to enter & exit. It helps them defend the hive against raiding bees and keeps the mice out. The upper spacer and the mouse-guard can be seen in the photo below:

1 comment:

kir anderson said...

looks like you are all set