Bee Conferences and Winter Prepby Ruhl Bee on 11/09/13
Well, after a big hiatus from blogging, we return. We have recently been busy at two Northwest bee conferences, one in Washington State, and the other in Oregon. Both had great speakers over a wide range of topics. Thanks to both the Washington State Beekeepers Association and the Oregon State Beekeepers Association for putting on these richly rewarding events.
On a different topic, those of you who have not done any winter prep for your hives can still do something to help them through winter. With this cool autumn weather, we hate tearing into hives, but you can at least make sure the colony is well protected from driving wind and rain. And make sure the hive is not sitting directly on the ground. You can test the hive weight by lifting the lower box cup handle. If light, either combine it with another colony or feed. In our area, our bees are taking less sugar syrup now, but they will slowly nibble away at a candy board or Drivert sugar.
If you decide to use an entrance reducer for winter, make sure to remove it regularly to clean the bottom board of dead bees. Sometimes the winter attrition can sharply increase after a sudden temperature drop. This can block the entrance on the inside, which can cause serious problems for the colony.
If you find one of your colonies has completely died out, don't leave the boxes out all winter. Clean them thoroughly now and store them in a dry place, ready for more bees next spring.