Thursday, October 10, 2013

Closing Up Shop

We got our beehives ready for winter today!

(not much action going on these days)
Remove the {empty} supers and queen excluders.
(we had hopes for honey but aren't surprised we didn't get any)

Flip the inner covers.

Entrance reducers.

After.  Back to short little hives.
While we were in there, we noticed a couple of red flags that made us want to call our mentor. The first was hive beetles in our yellow hive:

Our mentor told us that most hives have them right now and that strong hives would keep them at the top and away from the honey. As soon as he said that I remembered I thought there were a lot of bees in the super (the small, top box) for not having any honey making going on up there. It makes sense that there would be extra bees in the empty box if they were on beetle duty.  The yellow hive is our stronger hive so as of right now, we're not too worried.

The other red flag was pretty much everything about the white hive. Somehow that colony ended up being significantly smaller and the hive was much lighter when David did the lift check for stored honey. Mr. Mentor suggested that we feed them simple syrup for the next month and as soon as they fill the remaining frames, remove the feeder. We plan to do that this weekend, as well as flipping the yellow hive's entrance reducer to the larger opening since they are so strong. He also suggested that we flip our inner covers back over while there is still some nectar flowing (until the first frost, I suppose) because they will fill that space if they have the materials at their disposal and we don't want any burr comb up there. 

We have learned a lot of lessons during our first season as beekeepers and now we can add another. Books are great to use as a starting point and a guide, but you have to look at the real life signs around you rather than following the general timeline of a book to get it right. Kind of sounds like parenting, doesn't it?  It's not a big deal that we jumped the gun a little on winterizing our hives but now we know to look to Mother Nature to signal us when the time is right. 


Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Brave Boy"

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