How To Winterize Bees: A Complete Guide To Winter Hive Prep
06.11.2023 - 16:31
Bees are some of our most important pollinators and are crucial to our food sources and biodiversity. Beekeeping is a fun hobby that can help keep the insects in your garden for maximum blooms and yields. It also helps increase the general population of these threatened insects. Keeping bees over winter takes a bit of preparation, but knowing how to preserve the colony to sustains its usefulness year after year.
Bees have a fascinating life cycle. They begin as eggs, progress to larvae, then pupa, and finally become adults. Honey bees during winter are still active and do not hibernate. Instead they stay in the hive and continuously fan their wings. This activity keeps the hive warm during winter.
When temperatures drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C), the colony kicks out the drones or males. This is because they have no further purpose in winter and would strain the colony’s resources. The queen slows and finally stops egg production. Female workers store honey to feed them over the winter. The colony’s fate rests in the amount of food the workers are able to store.
Near the end of summer it is time to prepare the hives for winter. Bees will naturally prepare for winter, but they can use some assistance to prevent huge losses. Losses of 10 percent are common but higher numbers can threaten the health of the colony. In northern climates, begin to prepare colonies in August to September. Warmer climates can wait a month or more to begin to winterize bees.
The most common reason colonies fail in the cold season is lack of food. Varroa mites in the colony can also take a toll. These tiny pests feed and reproduce on larva and pupa, reducing populating and transmitting disease. Here are some tips to prepare for winter:
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