Preparing For Comfort
Temperatures have been hovering around 50ºF during the day and around 40ºF or lower at night. The leaves are almost gone from the trees and barely any flowers are left in the garden. I can tell that a cold front is coming in by how windy it gets. This is the time to prepare our bee hives for winter, to keep the hard working ladies comfortable during their winter break.
We put two inch thick foam insulation around our hives last weekend, all four sides and the roof. The temperature was a little bit over 50º F so some of them came out to take a look at what we were doing to their home. We did the first two hives without any problem but a couple of bees from the third hive chased us off. We had to wait until dusk to complete the task. A good thing we finished insulating them because the wind has been howling since this afternoon and the temperature is supposed to drop even further this week.
It was a little bit warmer today and the bees came out to clean themselves and forage for whatever they could find. A little bit of extra food won’t hurt. I fed them with sugar syrup around the end of September; 24 pounds each. Hopefully this will help them through winter. The first hive was robbed today but they successfully defended their hive. Reducing the entrance helped, I think. I reduced the entrance on all the hives to just 1 inch since the second hive had been robbed earlier in the fall.
I think they are comfortable now with thick insulation all around and on the inner cover. They shouldn’t have to work too hard to keep the hive temperature up in the middle of winter. They should have enough food as well with the sugar syrup I fed them combined with the honey they already made for themselves. They deserve to take a rest in comfort after a long working season.