It’s funny how the “back to school” cringe that many of us feel at the end of August is often accompanied with bad weather. Suddenly it seems as though summer is over. I wake up to hear fog horns reminding me it’s time to get the bees ready for the winter. Things are looking different around hiveland as well. With the onset of rain and a dip in temperature, the bees’ schedule has changed slightly to attend to the following necessary activities:
- The new brood will produce longer living worker bees. While in the summer the worker bees live up to six weeks, the winter brood needs to be able to survive for 5 to 8 months.
- As there is less nectar available now, we can see much more worker bees returning with colorful pollen baskets.
- A few early drones have been let out. I assume that once it gets colder, the rest will be kicked out.
To help our little friends, we need to take care of a few things as well at this time of year.
- Downsize – The bees won’t be needing any excess space to fill it with honey because the honey season is over. We’ll take out frames and supers that are empty or fairly empty so that the bees can get cozy and concentrate their efforts in one area to make it winter proof.
- Feed more – Their honey has been partially taken away from them during the summer, so to compensate, they will need to be fed sugar water.
- Check their chance of survival – Chances are higher if the queen is big, energetic, young, and lays well. A hive must also have enough of everything: honey, pollen, brood and worker bees. If it doesn’t, we may need to supplement with extra frames or combine two hives.
Once we have checked the queen, their food supplies, for mites and unused frames, we can only hope for the best. There will be a few more improvements we can make once it gets colder but as long as everyone is dry, we’re good for now. Sadly we’ll be seeing much less of them from now on. We want to avoid any unnecessary stress and opening hives disrupts their harmony. As the off-season coincides with my year of school, I’ll be super beesy again and there may not be as many blogs. So I look forward to hearing more from you! 🙂