Friday, January 4, 2013

The Hives in Winter

All tucked in for the duration.  The center hive really isn't a hive, but a stack of spare supers there to freeze for the season.   The freezing kills things like wax moth larvae. 

We have screened bottom boards in both hives. In the Tardis [in the front] we put solid inserts for the winter because it's a horizontal hive, but in the flower lang [in the back of the photo], we left the screen open for the winter.   In addition, I put pencil ends in each corner of their telescoping [top] lids to keep the lids propped up a bit so that air can move across the inner covers and evaporate the moisture that builds up inside. 

Moisture is bad.  The inside of the hives will stay warmer than the outside, so the moisture from bee breath and honey will condense.  Then if it really gets cold, that condensation will freeze everywhere in the hive and kill a lot of them.   The object of the winter game for beekeepers is to keep them dry.  They'll handle the cold on their own.

This pic was taken after the first little snow.  We've had another 16 inches since.   You'll see that their front porches are covered in snow.   After the pic, I cleaned the snow from in front of their lower entrances and made sure the top lids were pushed [and therefore open] to the front.  That allows air in and out. 


  1. Dang, you've had a lot of snow already. Here in Michigan we've barely been dusted a few times.

    1. It's been a goofy year. We normally get a couple of inches, then it melts off. Rarely do we have that much snow at one time and rarely does snow stay for more than a few days. The good news is that this lovely blanket is probably really good for the gardens. It's supposed to be in the 40s next week. If it melts off, I'll go lift the hives to see how full they are. I'd be really really happy if they both survive the winter.

  2. I live in Gauteng, South Africa. Flat savannah, brown and cold in winter..coldish ie -2 to -5 degrees with the first flutter of snow in 20 years, last winter,(it is summer now), greenish in summer rainfall. We are starting to think of relocating to the Kwazulu Natal midlands which is in the mist belt in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountain range and has a very English climate.
    It is lovely to read of your white and very cold winters as this is something I shall have to antiipate living thru in the years to come. I must thank you for your blogs as I have not yet found any local farmers/wives to connect with for information, much needed, as although I am creative and practical, I have no smallholding experience other than some spinning and weaving, cooking and gardening and other heritage crafts of that nature..
    I am sure that there are many women out there in this wonderful world who have begun such a journey as mine..successfully, and with social networking like this and ingenious women like yourself sharing your experiences and knowledge, the road can only be made that much less difficult for those that follow in your footsteps. :-)

    1. Valerie! It's great to hear from you! There are a lot of us around - it's a gentle, happy and resourceful group of people. I look forward to more of your comments and to hearing more of your story.


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