Bee Diary: Winter Prep

Fall                                              Waning Harvest Moon

Up by 10 today.  Still recuperating from the week.  Out to Stillwater to buy moisture boards for the bees and another cardboard sleeve for winter.  I already have two.  The process now is pretty straightforward.  Remove all honey supers.  Done.  Put in the boards that reduce the bottom entrance to below mouse size.  Done.  Take off feeding and treatments.  Will be done this weekend.  Cork up all but the top hole that allows bees access to the hive box from above.  Done, except that I have to drill a hole in one hive box.  Not sure how the bees will tolerate that, but I’ll find out soon enough.

After all this, I wait somewhere into the first couple/three weeks of November.  At that point I put in the moisture board on the top.  This board wicks moisture from the writhing mass of bees as they crawl around each other in a ball that maintains a steady temperature in the colony.  I make sure there is a top entry point cut into the cardboard that conforms to the entrance on the top hive box.  I then put the cover on the top hive box, over the moisture board, but slightly tilted to allow the moisture to escape.  This necessitates a rock or brick to be sure the cover doesn’t blow away.  The card board sleeve fits over the three hive boxes and serves as a wind barrier and provides a small amount of insulation.  The outside of the cardboard has a wax coating to repel water.  After that, walk away.  I’ll check on the colonies in late January, early February.

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