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Beekeeping is a hobby to some people while to others it is their source of income. Whatever the reason, beekeeping is not an easy task. The practice requires excellent management skills, good stewardship, time management, and expert knowledge.
Beekeeping is the art of keeping and maintaining bee colonies of honey-producing bees. One of the honey-producing bees is the melanoma. People keep bees for various reasons.
- Collecting honey
- Collecting other products such as bee wax
- Collecting bee pollen for crop pollination
Beekeeping is a practice that is profoundly affected by the environment around the apiary. Climate is one of the biggest challenges that most beekeepers do not prepare for in advance. The climate dictates the management style you employ and the time factor. It is critical to note down that each type of colony is unique. Winter possess a challenge as many bee farmers lose a lot of bees during this time. You, therefore, need the expert skills and knowledge to manage your beehive during winter properly.
The temperature can go as far as -40 degrees and thus the air chills the hive through the cracks and openings. There is also a risk of the colony clusters eating through the honey stores. The bees will only come out to eliminate their waste. It is crucial for you to know and understand how to manage your enterprise during winter.
1. Moving Your Bees
It is vital as a beekeeper to keep abreast with the climatic changes in your region. When you see winter approaching, it is critical to making the necessary preparations. Find a place that has full access to sunlight when it is available. It is essential to try and keep the bees as warm as possible during winter. When you find a great place, be innovative and move your bees there. The site should have as minimal traffic as possible.
2. Provide the Bees With a Wind Breaker
We all know that winter comes with a lot of unfavorable conditions. Moving your bees is not the only option that will help preserve them during this time. It is vital to protect the bees against the strong winds and the winter storms that arise. Many people lose their bees each year due to winter disasters. Such occurrences cause substantial economic losses to bee farmers. You can move your bees to a location that has trees. Another option is to create a stable and robust fence around the apiary. The wind blockers will help prevent the strong wind from blowing to the apiary and exposing the bees to extreme temperatures.
3. Reducing the Size of the Hive
Most times during winter, the beehives tend to shrink in preparation for the winter. It is critical at this time to take to take out part of the hive. Reducing the number of boxes is essential in lowering idle and empty spaces to maximize warm temperatures. The number of bees decreases over the winter period for one reason or the other.
The bees clump together during the cold weather to obtain warmth from one another. So they definitely will end up leaving some of the hives empty. Remove the other colonies so that you can help keep them warm. Such measures avoid the occurrences of frozen bees or cold hives.
4. Feeding Your Bees Should be Your Priority
During the typical weather, bees can leave the hive and fly around to look for food. However, during the winter, the bees do not move around at all. The cold outside discourages much movement. It is vital to make sure that you find food for the bees before the winter creeps in.
There are various types of feeds you can find in the market for bees. Some of them include the fondant or the grease patties. Some people prefer using them both to provide varieties. For those who cannot afford to buy you can make the feeds yourself. The recipes are quite straightforward to follow, and the ingredients are locally available.
Place the food in the hive before the winter begins. The food is enough to last the bees till the end of the winter. Feeding the bees will help prevent situations where the bees eat the honey stores.
5. Keep Checking on the Bees from Time to Time
It is not advisable to keep opening the lid of the boxes during the cold winter. It is important however to check out and see if there are any inconsistencies in the state of the bees. You can check on whether the windbreakers are still in place and take corrective action. You can either add other windbreakers or move the boxes to other conducive places.
On the days that the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, open the lids and check on the bees. Find out if the food supply is enough and whether the number of bees is correct. Sometimes the bees can die during winter due to starvation, or they can run away due to cold. Checking up on them helps to ensure you add the food supplies or you find another warm place for them.
About the Author
Kylie is the editor at Green & Growing. She enjoy the outdoors, especially when she can go on a fun hike or adventure. She likes to focus on the perks green living. She feels it is so important to take care of our earth and hope to spread more awareness as she edits and writes.
What other tips do you suggest for helping bees through the winter season? Leave a comment below and let us know.