Here’s a cell phone pic of our hives from this past weekend after we wrapped them up for the winter:
And here’s what they looked like about a month ago:
Check out the “Wrapping Hives for Winter” post on the How-To page for detailed instructions on insulating and wrapping hives for winter.
Here’s an exciting cell phone pic of a hive that happens to have a screen bottom board:
That extra flap of black wrap hanging down the side of the hive is meant to act as a windbreak (see To wrap or not to wrap from Honey Bee Suite for more on this). An open bottom board in the middle of a Newfoundland winter may be too much for the bees, meaning they could freeze to death. I guess I’ll find out.
Another experiment: We didn’t top up our colonies with sugar syrup in the fall. We gave them all between a half and a full medium super of honey instead. Hopefully they have enough honey to get through the winter. We’ll check them again sometime in January or February and give them raw sugar if they seem starved at that point. And for the record, we have six hives on a farm in Portugal Cove and one in a secret hidden place in the city in St. John’s. I’m also experimenting with the city hive by not wrapping it. That’s all I have to say for now. Cheers.
P.S.: See all the Winter Beekeeping posts for, you know, other adventures in winter beekeeping.
NOVEMBER 13, 2016: Some of the dumbest beekeeping is natural beekeeping. Not topping up my hives with syrup before the winter and letting the bees survive of their own natural honey resulted in my first starved out colony.