Here are some winter tips for bee keeping.
- After harvesting the honey, provide your bees with 1:1 syrup and Complete Bee food until the queen is actively laying new eggs. This will ensure a strong population of young nurse bees for the fall.
- Once the colony is full of young nurse bees, switch to feeding them 2:1 syrup from above until they stop taking it, typically around October. This will require approximately six to seven feedings of a gallon or more each.
- Throughout this time, supplement their diet with Mega Bee Pollen Sub, providing about five to six pounds. Mega Bee is available in five-pound containers and by the pound. It is a nutritious blend of Complete Bee food, mineral salts, and canola oil.
- Mite infestation is a serious threat to bee health, so regular vaporization is essential for mite control. Perform vaporization on a monthly schedule throughout the summer and fall to keep the hive mite-free. Follow the instructions carefully, as it may take up to 12 vaporizations to eliminate all mites before winter. Larger hives typically harbor more mites. Remember, one vapor treatment kills 95% of phoretic mites, but only 80% of the mites that are hidden inside capped cells, where they drain the lifeblood of developing nurse bees and spread diseases. A winter bee with half of its life force already drained will struggle to survive.
- Mite vaporization is harmless to the queen, bees, and brood.
- Ensure proper hive ventilation by lifting the lid and placing a 1/4-inch spacer at the back to allow air circulation. Additionally, drill a 9/16-inch hole, slightly tilted downwards, at the front and back of the hive bodies to facilitate moisture drainage.
- Protect the hive from rain by installing a rain guard that covers the entire structure. Water dripping down the inside of the hive can lead to foul brood. To further prevent moisture accumulation, tilt the solid bottom board hive slightly forward, allowing water to drain out the front. Moisture is detrimental to bee health.
- Place a sugar cake on top of the colony, using a one-inch spacer to support it. We will have sugar cakes available for purchase.