Hive Wrap Video

THE FOLLOWING HAS BEEN UPDATED SINCE IT WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED.

Here’s a video of what we did yesterday. We didn’t record the entire hive wrapping process (stapling the felt to the hives) because it would have made for an even longer and boring video. However, this Long Lane Honey Bee Farms video demonstrates what’s involved in the actual wrapping. (He uses a spacer to cut down on condensation. We use upper insulation instead.) In our video you’ll see me pointing out everything we’ve done to prepare the hives for winter. It’s not the most exciting video, but actually seeing how something works or doesn’t work is usually more instructive than photos or descriptions. So here it is:

VIDEO-REMOVED

NOV. 11/14: I removed the video because I didn’t realize it showed me talking to the camera. I don’t post photos or videos that show my face anymore. It’s a privacy thing.

Wrapping Hives for Winter

THE FOLLOWING WAS LAST UPDATED ON DECEMBER 13, 2013.

We wrapped both of our hives for winter today and did pretty much what David Burns does in his How To Wrap Your Hive for Winter video / beekeeping lesson. (I’ll post our own video in a day or two.)

Here’s the low down on exactly how we wrapped and prepared each of our four-month-old double-deep Langstroth hives for winter:

1) Built and installed the world’s simplest, cheapest mouse-proof entrance reducer and made sure to check the hive for mice beforehand.

2) Flipped the inner cover to the winter position (with the flat side facing up) and placed a piece of hard insulation over it. The insulation has a R-7.5 rating, whatever that is. Apparently, R-5 or above will keep the condensation from forming in the hive. It looks like this before the top cover is added:

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Drones Finally Got The Boot

DEAD DRONE
Resistance is futile.

Drone bees are kicked out of the hive before winter because they’re not essential to the winter survival of the colony. I was told not to be alarmed to find piles of dead drones outside the hive any time during the fall season. Plenty of drone pupae were discarded from the hive in September, but no large numbers of dead drones until today.
DEAD DRONE
I take this to mean the bees are getting serious about winter now — and I better hurry up and wrap the hives before winter sets in. We have nothing but rain, wind and snow in the forecast for the next few days.

But I’ll get the wraps on as soon as we get a break in the weather.

(Yeah, I know, it’s not the most earth shaking news, but how exciting can beekeeping get this time of year?)

PHOTOS NOTE (OCTOBER 2015): The photos in this post may not display properly because they were uploaded through Google’s Picasa online photo album service, a service I no longer use because certain updates create more work for me instead of streamlining the process. I will eventually replace the photos with ones hosted on the Mud Songs server. This note will disappear when (or if) that happens.

1st Batch of Beekeeping Books

I ordered some beekeeping books based on recommendations from various beekeeping forums — and I’m looking for other recommendations if anyone has any. Here’s a photo of the first batch of books that just arrived:

I’ll do a separate write-up for each of these books after I’ve read them. From left to right, the books are:

The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture, by A.I. Root and E.R. Root — Originally published in 1877, followed by several revised editions, this is basically a 700-page beekeeping encyclopaedia. I have the 1947 edition. Other books with exactly the same title made shopping for it a bit frustrating. I chose this edition because it was the most affordable ($35 Canadian). I guess it’s good to have around.

The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden (Revised and Updated), by Kim Flottum — Detailed instructive photographs make all the difference when it comes to beekeeping guide books (and websites), and this book is packed with them. I’ve only skimmed and read bits and pieces of it, but it seems to cover all the bases. I can tell already it’s a good buy. I plan to read it before any of the others. ($20 Canadian.)

Fifty Years Among the Bees, by C. C. Miller — Originally published in 1915, everyone says I should read it because it’s still informative (most beekeeping knowledge doesn’t get old) and it just a good read. ($15 Canadian.)

First Lessons in Beekeeping, by C. P. Dadant — Originally published in 1934, it’s another classic everyone says I have to read, so I’m going to read it sometime over this winter with the rest of these books. ($10 Canadian.)

PHOTOS NOTE (OCTOBER 2015): The photos in this post may not display properly because they were uploaded through Google’s Picasa online photo album service, a service I no longer use because certain updates create more work for me instead of streamlining the process. I will eventually replace the photos with ones hosted on the Mud Songs server. This note will disappear when (or if) that happens.

First Snow

Here’s what I see at this moment.

WINTER HIVE
It’s time to wrap the hives.

NOTE (Nov. 15/10): I’ve been busy with work, life and house renovations (the latter being the worst of the bunch). I still haven’t wrapped my hives, but when I do, I’ll probably follow this lesson from Long Lang Honey Bee Farms.

PHOTOS NOTE (OCTOBER 2015): The photos in this post may not display properly because they were uploaded through Google’s Picasa online photo album service, a service I no longer use because certain updates create more work for me instead of streamlining the process. I will eventually replace the photos with ones hosted on the Mud Songs server. This note will disappear when (or if) that happens.