A record of all the relevant beekeeping that I do (or have done) during the month of November. For the record, I began with two nucleus colonies in Langstroth hives in 2010 that I kept in my small backyard near downtown St. John’s (Newfoundland). I bought two more nucs the next year. By 2012, using swarm cells and naturally mated queens, I had six colonies on a farm in Portugal Cove. By 2013, mostly by creating splits with swarm cells, I had eight colonies on the edge of a big field in Logy Bay. I lost most of my colonies in the winter of 2015 to shrews. That was the only year I wasn’t able to take honey from my hives. I moved what was left of my colonies to Flatrock in 2015 and slowly built my beeyard up to nine colonies by the summer of 2016. My goal is to maintain a relatively self-sustaining beeyard with no more than ten colonies.
I finally got around to wrapping my hives for the winter. Here’s another how-to video narrated by me with a sore throat.
November 2018 Comment: That’s not a wax moth in the video. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not a wax moth. We don’t have those in Newfoundland (yet). I use 6mm (quarter-inch) mesh on the bottom entrances now to keep shrews out, and I don’t fold the wrap underneath the top cover because it holds moisture inside the hive.
I thought about using corrugated plastic as a type of winter wrap, but I didn’t have time to mess with that, so I stuck with following the traditional roofing felt wrap method. I don’t plan to touch the hives again until late January or early February when I might have to feed them candy cakes and pollen patties. See Wrapping Hives for Winter and Winter Preparations – Part 1 for more info. Continue reading →
March 2019 Introduction: This is another post where I go into some fine details of my beekeeping procedures that probably won’t do much to grab the interest of general readers. I’ll chime in at the end to comment on procedures that I don’t follow anymore, but this is really not the most exciting post I’ve ever posted. How I Prepare My Beehives For Winter is a more up to date version of this post, though even that is subject to change at any time.
It went up to a stifling 11°C yesterday (52°F), so I took the opportunity to insulate my hives for winter and staple on some mouse-proofing mesh. This is as simple as it gets.
Hives #2 and #1 with a piece of R-7.5 hard insulation over the inner covers (Nov. 3, 2011.)
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?)
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.