Putting the bees to bed

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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.

2 responses to “Putting the bees to bed

    • Bees are great. I am a bad beekeeper, but I am trying. That said, this year, after my minimal meddling policy was instigated we still got quite a lot of honey – maybe around 140lbs I think. This is another thing I should do – keep better records. I would encourage everyone who wants to and can to get bees. I learnt a huge amount by going to my local bee club.

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