Hot Tips

October, November, December

  • At the beginning of October heft the hives to check that they are all heavy. If not, continue feeding.
  • With all the required food now in the brood chamber, all should be well for winter.
  • Strap or weigh down the roof against winter wind.
  • Make sure the hive slopes gently forwards so that rain will not run into the entrance.
  • If green woodpeckers are in your area, protect the hives by putting wire netting round all four sides.
  • Monitor the now small entrance regularly for the build up of dead bees. Bees are dying all the time and just a few can block the entrance leaving the others unable to get out for water or toileting.
  • Keep a regular check for woodpecker damage or rain getting in.
  • Be aware that deer or other animals could knock the hive over rubbing against to satisfy an itch.
  • Feeding should not be required yet, but keep an emergency block of fondant available just in case. Most of the colonies that die out do so because of starvation.

January, February

  • Monitor the hive entrance for build up of dead bees and blockage.
  • Check regularly for any damage or wind / weather getting in.
  • Ensure the roof is secure; bricks, blocks and/or a strap will do the job.
  • In January, when the weather is cold, but not below freezing, treat your hives with oxalic acid solution to control varroa. Record the varroa drop in the following two weeks so that you know how badly your colonies are infested.
  • Gently heft (lift) the hive to check food weight. If light put a block of fondant over the crown board feedhole, and check regularly to see if it is being consumed.
  • Plan what you want to do in your apiary in the coming year.