We finished just in time! Last night we got roughly 8 inches of snow! Last year we gave it a valiant effort but the winter was too cold and long for our bees to make it. This year we threw out everything we learned and took a different approach.
Starting at the end of September we treated for mites one last time. We also installed a robbing screen because we saw a lot of yellow jackets out side the hive. We also placed the heaters on the bottom board. We will only use them when it gets to subzero temps.
We were lucky to get some pretty neat photos this day as well. The different colors of pollen brought back to the hive were unreal this year.
In October we added the entrance reducer. Then added a feeding box with a round feeder full of pure sugar. The idea is any excess condensation will fall into the sugar making it edible for the bees.
Next we added a vent box on top filled with burlap. We got a kick out of it that the vent holes made the box look like a face. Burlap does a great job wicking moisture. If you followed us last year I went over the threat of excess condensation in a hive during the winter months being deadly. A piece of plywood to shelter the hive front from the snow and a cinder block to hold everything in place.
The next major change was ditching the tar paper and using a Plan Bee hive wrap. Kevin Coy the owner was great to work with. http://www.planbeefarm.com/winter-hive-wraps.html The initial cost was more expensive but it is reusable. Last year our bees died in a cluster most likely of starvation. If they broke cluster and moved over one frame they had food to eat. The idea of the Plan Bee hive wrap is it will allow the bees to break cluster, find food and keep that queen alive! Another plus is we won’t have to deal with pulling out the staples from the hive because this secures with Velcro.
The final change we made was a snow fence. We hope the wind barrier will help give the hive an extra fighting chance. Fingers crossed we have good news for Oprah WinBEE in 2020!🐝🐝