Beekeepers Friend

Peaches' Beekeeping Blog

August 7, 2019

Getting Ready for Winter

By now you should have gotten your colony(s) ready by making them strong with lots of bees going into winter. The reason for that is so there will be plenty of help when the spring flow starts. There are several ways to do this.

  1. You could put a new young fall queen in the colony so she will lay eggs longer than an older queen. That will make more worker bees going into winter and will be more bees to start to work in the spring.
  2. You can combine two or three weak hives together and make one strong colony. Again giving more bees to one queen for the spring flow.
  3. You can have several nucs doing a good build up and shake the extra bees into a colony to build up the work force.
  4. There is one more way to get your bees ready for winter. This is called balancing. If you have two or more colonies, then you can take frames from a strong hive and put them in weaker hives until all your colonies have more or less the same amount of bees and/or frames of brood.

This is just four ways to build up a colony. You do this with all your weak hives. You will be surprised at the results in the spring. Now you will be ready for the fall honey flow with balanced hives and all the nectar they put up will be for their winter stores.

The fall honey will be different from the spring honey, both in taste and color. If you want to harvest some fall honey, then you can take the honey that is left when spring is sprung, that can be extracted separately and bottled and marked as fall honey.

One more piece of advice. If you use a queen excluder, it would be wise to take it off now so when it gets cold and the bee cluster, they can eat their way up and take the queen with them. Otherwise, the bees could starve if the queen cannot go with them. They will stay with her and not try to go up where the food is.

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