Earlier in the week I finally got round to putting my bees to bed for the winter. I wrapped them in chicken wire – well the hives, not the individual bees, that would take forever – to stop woodpeckers coming and gobbling up all my bees and their stores.
Then I stuck a brick on top of the hives in case of high winds.
I know I am late sorting everything out, but my excuse is that everything gets shoved back when you have a heather honey harvest. I can’t feed the bees (or treat for varroa) until I have taken off the heather honey and that doesn’t happen until early September.
Last year, I topped and tailed my hives – putting an empty super underneath the brood box. I am not sure why I do this, other than I know other beekeepers do. This year I haven’t – this is part of my “do less stuff to annoy the bees” strategy. I have left a super on top of each of the brood box – one of the hives (the one on the left) has two supers on – this is because I left my bees with lots of honey even before I fed them. In fact they didn’t need much feeding at all. I prefer taking a bit less honey and then not having to feed as much.
The hive on the right is a swarm I collected – the bees are living in the supers. I hope next spring they will migrate down to the brood box.
So miraculously three and a half years after starting my bee adventure with a small nucleus I am going into this winter with six hives all from splitting and swarms. I hope they all stay warm and safe and make it through to the spring.
N.B. If truth be told I left the bees with lots of honey as I couldn’t face squishing any more wretched heather honey out of frames.