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Depending on where you live winter could be in full swing or it could be one of those weird extended summer seasons.  Based on what we know for 2017, the winter is going to be a rough one, so pay attention. Now would be a good time to be sure that you are ready on a dime to winterize your hive no matter what beekeeping systems or philosophies you follow.

In this list you are going to hear a lot about the following items:

  1. Feeding
  2. Winterizing
  3. And more feeding just in case your bees are not where they should be for the winter.

CHECKLIST

  • Observation: Look at the weather and be ready to move quickly based on upcoming weather.

  • Action: Begin the winterization process. Place your mouse guards and pest guards on the inside of the hive during this fall weather.  By doing this now, you will not have to struggle to find a warm day when it does finally reach the super cold weather.  If you are running traditional hives, your mouse guards probably go on the outside of the hive. 

  • Plan: Scout out your winterizing location and plan a timeline to move the hive if you need to.

  • Suggestion: Plan your inspections around the weather. Remember, it is good to be sure that the relative temperature of the area directly outside of the Beepod is at least 50 degrees F.

  • Action: Once the temperature drops to an average of 40 degrees F, use the Beerito. It is the best wind block for those not placing their Beepod in an outbuilding or shed.  At this time, also, be sure the vent boards remain closed.  Stay aware of the night temperatures specifically for this step, as that is when the damage can be done.

  • Observation: A reduction in brood will be noticeable at this point. The winter bees will eat royal jelly and be heartier (noticeably larger). There will be a smaller number of bees to move into winter and most of the drones should be gone at this point in time.

  • Observation: Bees will begin to propolize everything they can to seal up their home for the winter.

  • Action: Do not go into the inner brood chamber as often during this time as they will have to do more work to seal their home.  When you hear the propolis start cracking/popping, that’s a sign you are about done going into the hive for the winter.

  • Observation: The bees will start rearranging their honey in their home. They compress the honey into a single area to prep for a winter cluster.  Many times this happens to be located near the entrance.  If you notice that there are honey bars that are not being touched, it might be good to take a closer look at those bars of comb. 

  • Observation: How is the water and food situation?

  • Action: Make water available. Feed your bees a syrup or the honey tea recipe (can be found on Beepods Blog). DO NOT USE brown organic sugar to feed your bees.  This will make the bees sick.  Feed refined white sugar if you are going to create a simple syrup.

  • Action: If you pulled honey stores throughout the summer for the winter, now is the time to put those back into the hive
  • Note: With the Beepod, you can continue feeding even after the propolis seals have hardened. Open the lid and use the feeder jar.  We suggest having jars of feed ready to go so the time with the lid off the hive is limited.

  • Note: Be conscious of how heating the hive will work. The less space they have to heat the better.  It’s like your home.  If they have empty bars or bars that will not contribute to winter survival (comb not being used, unfilled partially drawn out comb, empty space), remove them.

  • Prediction / What we have heard: It’s going to be a difficult winter. Feed the bees.

  • Observation: Pay attention to your bees and track this using the following guidelines and always note in the Healthy Hive Inspection™ Software.
This checklist was created for beekeepers specifically in Midwest, USA.  It may need to be adjusted for other beekeepers based on weather, location and other environmental factors.  This list will be updated and variations will be created over time as needed.  If you would like to help with the development of these checklists, please, contact us.  Check for updated checklists and information in the Members Resource of the beepods.com website.

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