Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Preparing for Winter

As I was preparing my bee colonies for winter I realized that I am doing the same things around my home that they are doing at their hives.

1.  Feeding and Food Storage.  I have been putting a 2:1 sugar water drink on the hives for the bees to eat and store for winter.  I have also been making tomato sauce from our garden tomatoes and preparing swiss chard and collard greens for the freezer.

2. Weather-proofing.  I have been covering our windows with plastic to keep out the drafts and keep our gas bill down.  The bees in the white, Langstroth hive have been filling in the gaps between their boxes with propolis (bee glue), which they make from tree sap.  I had planned on plugging up most of the entrance holes on the front of the green top-bar hive with corks for the winter.  The bees beat me to it!  They have already sealed up most of the holes with propolis and are now cozy and ready for winter.

3.  Last Minute Harvesting.  On any day exceeding 60 degrees Fahrenheit the bees have been out flying around looking for late season pollen and nectar to harvest.  Likewise, I harvested the last of the blooms from my wildflower patch before the recent frosty nights.  It is nice to enjoy one last bouquet before the snow flies.  Pictured below with rainbow swiss chard.

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