November 2018 Introduction: This is how I used to wrap my hives. Today when I wrap them, it’s pretty much the same deal except I use 6mm (quarter-inch) mesh on the bottom entrances, and then later the top entrance, to keep shrews out, and I don’t fold any the of wrap inside the hive because I noticed it holds moisture inside the hive.
Here’s the low down on exactly how I wrapped and prepared each of our four-month-old double-deep Langstroth hives for winter:
1) Built and installed mouse-proof entrance reducers 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:
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.
Kicked out drones. (Nov. 18, 2010.)
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?)
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:
My first batch of beekeeping books. (Nov. 17, 2010.)
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.)
November 2018 Postscript: The Kim Flottum book is good for the photographs so new beekeepers can identify what they’re looking at inside the hive, but I wouldn’t call it essential. I’d probably pick The Beekeeper’s Handbook, by Sammataro and Avitabile, as the most informative single-volume beekeeping guide and reference book that’s not ridiculously expensive. My 1947 edition of The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture may be old but the information is solid. I often refer to it when I’m curious about a specific topic, and I end up reading it for hours. Much of the knowledge that pop ups up in online forums and current beekeeping books can be found in this old book, knowledge that has been around for a long time. Older editions are in the public domain and can be found online free of charge or in cheap but good enough reprints. The newer editions sell for more than $200. I won’t be picking that up any time soon.
A random entry from ABC and XYZ. Stuff that’s good to know.
November 2018 Postscript: I had planned to delete this post and any other posts that don’t provide any useful information, but the some of the comments in these old posts are worth keeping around. So that’s why I haven’t deleted this post.