This October has been cool and rainy, and there is more on the way. Unfortunately your bees may have begun dipping into their stores – especially for protein. Protein patties fed in the fall can greatly bolster the health and vitality of your long-lived winter bees.
Some other things to consider at this time of year:
The ideal hive configuration going in to winter consists of the brood nest concentrated in the lower box, with a top box full of honey. The above image shows a frame pulled from a top brood box – the bees have moved the brood nest lower in the hive and filled the empty spaces with capped honey. This is what you want to see! (This particular hive utilizes all western boxes – hence the smaller frame size).
Syrup feeding should be wrapping up by now – when temperatures drop bees cannot adequately digest food in liquid form.
During winter, if your hives seem to be light on food, consider feeding them dry granulated sugar or a fondant mixture (never liquid).
Your bees will be rearing new brood around the winter solstice. Feeding them protein patties now (especially if they are light on stored pollen) will give the bees the essential nutrients they will need to raise bees when pollen foraging is not an option.
Consider adding a mouse guard to your hive entrance. Mice that make homes in our hives over the winter can do serious damage to your precious drawn frames.
Ensure your bees have proper ventilation within the hive. Vivaldi-style inner greatly reduce moisture buildup by allowing moist air to escape through the vent holes. The added height also allows for the placement of a top feeder, or space to feed your bees emergency feed in winter.
If you have any questions regarding preparing your hive for winter, please call us at 541-929-3524, or attend our BEEKEEPING IN THE WINTER MONTHS class, offered October thru December here at the store.