November 28, 2011

Winterizing the bees

For the past month we have been feeding the bees sugar water, hoping it will help them have enough food to make it through the winter. We also acquired some bales of straw to use as wind blocks.

Over the weekend we took away the sugar water, added an inner insulator board and wrapped the hive in some Styrofoam insulation and tar paper... This is the final step in winterizing the bees

The insulator board goes under the bottom cover and the bottom cover gets flipped, which means the bees clinging to the bottom cover get exposed to the cold. Bees shut down at around 45 degrees, which was about the air temperature over the weekend. So when we flipped the cover there were about three or four dozen bees freaking out. We tried to brush them onto the porch of the hive with old Goldenrod stalk with mixed success. I think we got most of them eventually, but it stressed everyone out.

Here is the hive, ready for winter, with a bale on the NE and SW sides, wrapped in tar paper with the entrance on the bottom open and an air vent at the top. I hope we will see the bees next February.

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