Winter is a tough time for honey bee colonies. If you’ve been in the beekeeping game for a while, you’ve likely had a colony die on you before the spring thaws. So, how do you avoid having to replace your honey bee colony in spring? How do you save yourself the time, money, and stress of a deadout? You get proactive, you think ahead, and you prepare as best you can before winter takes hold. This blog is your Official Fall Beekeeping Checklist. If you follow along, checking each tip or technique off the list, your bees will have a better chance of winter survival.
Heading into fall beekeeping, it’s crucial to check whether your colony or colonies need a nutritional boost. If you do need to feed in the fall, make sure the syrup is nice and thick; the last thing you want to do is make your bees work harder to condense the syrup when they’re already working hard to prep the hive for winter.
When your bees emerge from the cluster in spring, they will be in desperate need of resources, namely sources of pollen and nectar. You can make sure they don’t survive winter only to die because of a nectar dearth by planting bulbs in the fall. Siberian squill, crocuses, and snowdrops are all excellent choices for early spring blooms.
A Beepods Harvest Box is a fantastic resource to have on hand in the fall. This hand-crafted storage box is perfect for setting aside extra bars of honey in summer, which you can add back into the hive when winterizing. Remember, if the bees don’t have enough honey to fuel the cluster, they will die.
Inspection protocols differ depending on the season. If you aren’t well-versed in what to do in fall, it’s not too late. Make sure you read our blog to learn how to check honey stores, work with comb abnormalities, winterize early and well, and feed the right syrup
Creatures like mice can destroy the hive and pests like tracheal mites or Varroa mites can wreck your colony. The most successful beekeepers know what to look for and what to do to prevent outside influences from ruining their beekeeping experience.
Out of all of our tips, this one might be the most important. Especially if you live in northern regions, your bees won’t survive without proper winterizing. Fortunately, we make a custom kit for all of our Beepods users, but the tips apply to anyone. Whether you use our Beepods System Winterizing Kit or not, don’t forget to use mouse guards and a desiccant. They are essential for ensuring the winter survival of your colony.
Once the bees start to cluster, your job is not done. In fact, there are four essential tips for cluster maintenance you should know to ensure your bees’ winter survival. The most important one is making sure the honey bars are positioned so that your bees can easily eat through them, in order, without having to try to move across honey-less sections of the hive.
This last one is something you do without your bees. The best beekeepers understand the learning never stops, and the longer you’re a beekeeper, the more techniques you’ve learned and refined over the years. If you haven’t taken our beekeeping courses yet, fall and winter are the perfect times. They are a great way to test your knowledge, learn something new, and have clear ideas for what you’re going to adjust the next time around.
Even though beekeeping is an art and a hobby that’s subject to the whims of Mother Nature, there’s still a lot that’s within your control as a beekeeper. Since winter losses tend to hit the beekeeping community hard, we want to make sure you’re set up for success heading into the cold, dark, and vulnerable days for your colony. Use this list to be as prepared as possible so that your bees have the best chance of winter survival.