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Depending on where you live, winter could be in full swing or it could be one of those weird extended summers. It’s a good time to be sure that you are ready to winterize your hive no matter what beekeeping systems or philosophies you follow.

CHECKLIST

  • Observation: Watch the weather and be ready to move quickly based on any fluctuations
  • Action: Begin the winterizing process. Place your mouse guards and pest guards on the inside of the hive when fall weather sets in. By doing this now, you won’t have to struggle to find a warm day when the super cold weather takes hold. If you have traditional hives, your mouse guards likely go on the exterior of the hive  
  • Plan: Scout out your winterizing location and create a timeline to move the hive if you need to
  • Suggestion: Plan your inspections around the weather. Remember, make sure that the relative temperature of the area directly outside of the Beepod is at least 50°F
  • Action: Once the temperature drops to an average of 40°F, use the Beerito. It’s the best wind block for beekeepers that don’t plan to place their Beepod in an outbuilding or shed. Make sure the vent boards are closed. Be aware of the nightly low temperatures, as significant drops can cause serious damage to your colony
  • Observation: You should notice a reduction in brood. The winter bees eat royal jelly and are heartier (noticeably larger). A smaller amount of bees transition into winter. and most of the drones should be gone now
  • Observation: Bees propolize everything they can in order to seal up their home for the winter
  • Action: Do not go into the inner brood chamber as often during this time as you will create more work for the bees that are trying to seal their home. When you hear the propolis start cracking/popping, that’s a sign to cease inspections for winter
  • Observation: The bees start rearranging their honey in their home. They compress the honey into a single area to prep for the winter cluster. Usually, the bees relocate the honey near the entrance. If you notice that there are honey bars the bees stop touching, take a closer look  
  • Observation: How is the water and food situation? 
  • Action: Provide water for your bees. Feed your bees a syrup or the Honey Bee Tea. DO NOT USE brown sugar to feed your bees. This will make the bees sick. Feed refined white sugar when mixing up a simple syrup
  • Action: If you pulled honey stores throughout the summer for the winter, now is the time to put those bars back into the hive
  • Note: With the Beepod, you can continue feeding even after the propolis seals harden. Open the lid and use the feeder jar. We suggest having jars of feed ready to go so you limit the amount of time the lid is off the hive
  • Note: Be conscious of how the bees heat the hive. The less space the bees have to heat the better. If the bees have empty bars or bars that will not contribute to winter survival (unused comb, unfilled or partially drawn out comb, empty space), remove them
  • Observation: Pay attention to your bees and track your data using these guidelines, and always record your observations using the Healthy Hive™ Management 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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