Monday, November 7, 2011

A long winter's nap

After a summer of exploring every inch of the area around the old farmhouse, the neighbouring woods and on occasion the neighbour's pool, it was time for the hive to settle down and begin their winter hibernation while enjoying the fruits of their many, many journeys made over the last few months.
Before packing things in until spring, I switched out the hive boxes, one deep and one shallow, for thicker walled boxes that should provide a bit more insulation over the colder months. On the advice of my local bee supplier, I painted the boxes brown so that on those days in January when the sky is clear and the sun is shining bright the darker colour will absorb that extra heat and help the bees keep their home warm.

My supplier has many, many hives and last year, wrapped half of them with an insulated wrap covered in black plastic while the other half were not covered. His hive losses were 50% for both those that were wrapped and those that weren't.  His thought is that wrapping doesn't make a difference and it's a wasted expense. I value his opinion and his experience, dating back to when he was a child assisting his parents, is invaluable so I'm following his lead. The most important factors for the next few months are keeping moisture out of the hive and protecting it from the harsh winds we can experience.
Frames full of capped honey; hopefully it's enough to keep them well fed over the next few months.

Each time I enter the hive I keep any eye out for that elusive queen but she's rather shy.

But if you can spot her, please let me know!
I find it rather sad that the odds of my hive surving are 50-50.
With all of the stresses put on bees today this is just one more card in their deck that they could do without.
If you've ever thought about beekeeping, I hope this alone will inspire you to give it a try,
 without us bees face even tougher odds and without bees our odds are much, much worse.

~Bee well friends!~


Chris at Red Gate Farm said...

I love reading about your beekeeping... it is fascinating! However, I'll have to settle for living vicariously through you since I seem to have developed a bee allergy over the last few years :( It must be fantastic to have your own honey and maple syrup!

I hope your hive survives your chilly winter!


TexWisGirl said...

good luck to your hives!

Deb said...

I hope they make out okay. Do you think they would like a pillow for their hive?

A Wild Thing said...

So exciting, I haven't had a hive in years, the last batch o bees I bought cost $35.00, now $100.00, so this next year I think will BEE the one for me, I'm saving up to start over, the 'X' wouldn't give me any of my tools, so I'm LITERALLY starting over, but I agree, we all need to help the bees where we can, but I feel a protest coming on, as I fear again for the crop dusters that will overkill all around me...when will they learn!!!

Unknown said...

Oh I really hope your hive survives. Bees are so important. Love your pictures by the way.

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

I was just going to email you and ask the winter coming and what impact it may have on the hives.
And here you posted about it!
Great minds do think alike :)

Thanks for all the great info. I have learned sooo much about bee-keeping :)

"And some day when we are old women.."

xo, misha

Gina Kleinworth said...

WOW- look at that!!!! Incredible!

Staci@LifeAtCobbleHillFarm said...

Wonderful post and I just love that header! I can't wait to try my hand at beekeeping.

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

I've considered it but with my animals, I don't think our property is big enough. And there are no fields around here so no pollen:-/ I think they would be sad starving bees.

Michelle said...

I must admit that I think about this every year. Bees are so very intriguing and I use non-hybrid seeds, so their work is valuable to me.

Cedar said...

Fascinating and fantastic photos! Someday, maybe, when we think we can actually give them the time and energy. My husband reads up on it all the time.

Boho Farm and Home said...

I have been thinking about bees for some time now and when I see wonderful posts like this it makes me want to keep them even more!

Flat Creek Farm said...

Hope alllll of our bees do well. Yours are looking very cozy and well for their Winter's nap. Mr. W had the idea to put two of our big hay bales on the north side of the hives. I hope it blocks the chilly winds and helps them stay happy and healthy. Here's to the Bees, fellow Bee Girl!! -Tammy

Unknown said...

I'm with Chris! I'll live vicariously through your bee experience but I love seeing your beehive (and bravery.) Thanks for caring about their population.

Lynne said...

I sooo enjoy you and your blog. I will plan to live vicariously through "you the bee keeper . . . "
I hope "you and bee" will weather the winter safely/smoothly . . .
Love, Lynne