Hives Wrapped for Winter

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.

5 thoughts on “Hives Wrapped for Winter

  1. Great pictures. I’ll have to check out your other posts on winter beekeeping. I’m also happy to hear about other beekeepers leaving the bee’s own honey instead of feeding with syrup all winter long. Good luck for the winter!

  2. Did you take a peak inside to see how they are making out? By the way. Merry Christmas/Happy new year. Hope things are good.

  3. I’ve only poked around with my one hive that I have hidden in the city, shining a flash light through the top and bottom entrances. I can see the bees are making their way to the top.

    I haven’t lifted the covers off yet, though. I’ll do that as soon as we have a warm day. I haven’t fed them sugar yet. I’d rather hold off until February. I don’t need monster colonies in my life.

    How’s your basement project working out for you? I’ve heard you’ve got some big things on the go. I’ll have to drive out and check it out sometime. I have a regular 9 to 5 job now, so I’ll probably get my own vehicle in the spring or summer. I’d love to check it out. I’m watching you more than anyone else around here to see how things are done. You da man.

  4. I have a bedroom and bathroom pretty much completed. All I need now are doors are I am good to go for company. Feel free to drop out the spring or summer. I have 14 double nuc boxes ready for assembly and I have another 6 from last year. Not to mention the swarm traps that I can use too.

    I noticed some of mine are feeding on the candy boards tonight, clustered in a tight ball.

    I have one that I have to get some candy into soon. If not it is going to be a short winter.

    I’m gearning up for a good season. Making my order. I think I am going to order 500 medium frames this year to get the deal. If I need to sell a few I can or just hold them for the following year. I also need medium boxes to go along with that too.

    Gonna be another expensive year.

  5. Hey Jeff,

    For some reason I didn’t get an email notification about your comment. I just noticed it now.

    When I asked about your basement, I meant your beekeeping operation. I heard you were making room for some beekeeping machinery in your basement. (Good news about the bedroom and bathroom, though.)

    I may not have many weekdays off this summer (I have to wait a year before can take a full vacation), but either way, once I secure my own vehicle, I should be able to manage a trip out to your place.

    I don’t plan to spend much more money on beekeeping this year. Anything more than 10 hives would be a headache for me, even with my own car. After last year, I realized what I like about beekeeping, and it’s just hanging out with the bees, having them close by, walking out my back door and there they are. My first year of beekeeping, having my hives so close that I could watch them from inside my house — it spoiled me.

    You’re buying 500 medium frames? Holy moly.

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