Temp’s in the 50’s today. Checked all three yards and liking what I see. Strong clusters and nice scenery too. But, the hard times still lie ahead for the bees. Here’s some basic tips for this time of the season in the midwest.
- We do not want to disturb the bees any more than necessary. Making the bees break cluster can cause a lot of unforeseen havoc, so let’s avoid it. There’s lots we can do outside the hive.
- Clear your entrances of snow, debris, and make sure there aren’t dead bees clogging the entrance. Some dead bees outside is normal and a good indication the undertakers are bringing out the dead.
- Mice and other small animals might try to get in to hives. Even wooden entrance reducers can be chewed through. You can use tin or hardware cloth in front of wooden reducers.
- Put your ear tight against the outside of the hive and knock. Listen for their buzz back to you.
- Lift the hive from the back to assess how much honey stores there are. This takes experience. If you put candy boards on top, then check to see if the bees are up in there and add some sugar if needed (you want temps in the 50’s before lifting the outer cover.
I check in on my hives as often as possible… to assess food stores and look for anything strange around the hives. I also check after a storm or other natural event. Other than that, we’re just waiting, and letting the bees, be. Happy New Year!