Hive preparation Mites Winter

Winter Preparations

Taking advantage of warm weather I spent yesterday afternoon at the end of my garden and achieved the following:

  1. Moved heavy super under brood boxes as preparation for winter. (National, Commercial and Langstroth)

I moved a full super under the brood box in preparation for over wintering, obviously with no queen excluder between boxes.

In some cases I am hoping this will encourage the bees to place more stores in the brood box so that stores will be close to the brood cluster.

I also took on this task while I could still lift the boxes!

In the case of half -filled supers, I left these above the queen excluder for the bees to fill up while ivy is still  in flower. I shall move underneath later.

An experienced beekeeper can quote more than four reasons for placing a full super box under the brood. including:

  • The bees will eat from the super box underneath which will be completely emptied by spring;
  • The queen will lay eggs for brood in the warmest uppermost  box of the hive.  The larger brood box is intended for that purpose and so avoiding a break in the two boxes through the brood nest.
  • It is easier to take out Apivar strips which for many of us will be mid-November after the required 8 weeks.
  • It is  easy to feed candy above the brood frames in the spring. I have ordered  Fondabee for this winter.
  • The underneath super is believed to dissuade mice.
  • This system is used by many beekeeping associations and often referred to by eminent lecturers.
  1. I washed the yellow correx trays and replaced under the open mesh floor to limit cold draught making it is easier for the colony to maintain the required hive temperature as the weather becomes colder.

It is also useful to observe Varroa drop generated by the Apivar strips.  A white correx board is now available.

All my wood hives will be maintained in the ventilated orientation, otherwise miss-named the “cold way”. Many years ago I learned that the less ventilated, the so called “warm way” encourages green mould and chalk brood on the rear frames.

I understand that Polystyrene hives may be treated differently.

  1. I will later use insulation quilts of chip foam under the roof
  1. If I use Mouse Guards, these will go on with first white frost, around mid-November, so that bees do not lose their precious pollen as they scramble through the holes.

I use a Snowley mouse guard magnet, retail price £4.60 from suppliers. Completely indispensable for inserting drawing pins!!

  1. Finally the good news is that there seem to be less wasps. However there is a tendency for bees from strong hives to engage in robbing weaker ones. One of my very small nucleus colonies on two frames had an entrance of 1 cm.
  2. I recommend checking out the David Cushman web site, but remember the text is written for nation wide readership and not specifically Rickmansworth.

As always, I hope helpful especially for new beekeepers. I have tried to include full logical reasons.

Secretary, WHBKA

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