Wrap the biscuit and fluff out the fire, there is still plenty you can do for your girls.
- You may have not noticed any gusts of wind come through the bee yard during the summer but when you get hit with a 40 degree, 5 mph crosswind this winter, you will wish you had that windbreak. Imagine how bad that wind hurts your colonies. It could freeze them to death (literally). Now is the time to install that windbreak. Straw bales, shrubs, buildings, or anything that will create a barrier around your hives will help prevent those cold gusts from beating against them.
- Your hives will need good air circulation and ventilation throughout the winter.Ensure that your hive entrances remain clear of snow or other debris and include an opening (upper entrance) at the top of your hive. Moisture is detrimental to the hive during winter and if your hive does not have a way for it to escape, it could kill your bees.
- Insulating your hives will help against colder temperatures. This does not mean wrap your hive in insulation. Wrapping a hive can be more lethal than doing nothing. As we mentioned before and something we harp on every year, hive moisture is deadly during winter. Wrapping a hive can trap moisture and prevent it from escaping out the hive. The better option would be to use an insulated wintering board, empty super filled with straw, or even tacking on black tar paper (not covering any entrances).
- As the bees move up through the hive they will be consuming their stores of honey. When they reach the upper chambers in the hive, have an emergency feed when they run out. Fondant or sugar candy is a great winter feed that allows the bees to consume without breaking far from cluster. They also help in reducing hive moisture.
- Your hives can become warm housing for outside pests. During a cold winter, mice and other rodents may seek refuge inside a warm place. Place a mouse guardover the entrance to prevent pests from entering the hive and killing off your bees.
Until those days that are too cold for you to go outside are here, there is still something that can be done for you hives.