Wintering Bees

Winter is the time when your bees require the least amount of attention. However there are preparations that should be made and checks to do during the Winter months.

Firstly a mouse guard must be fitted to block the hive entrance in November time.

Mice often make a home for themselves, eat the honey and chew up the comb when the bees are inactive.

The mouse guards holes allow the bees to come and go but are too small for a mouse.

Make sure supers are stored in cool, dry place non-accessable to mice as they like to make homes here too.

During the Winter months lift the hive every few weeks, if it feels light then the bees may require some feeding. The Winter feed requires a higher ratio of sugar to water. If winter feeds have too high a water content the bees might not be able to dehydrate it enough to prevent fermentation before winter sets in. Another way to feed in the winter months it to use baker’s fondant (the soft icing on cakes) as this won’t ferment and the bees can eat it straight away. Get more info on our feeding page.

Mesh Floors vs Solid Floors

There is a lesser death rate in colonies on open mesh floors than in colonies on closed floors, these colonies do not suffer heat build up from the sun shining on the hive wall, as the bee colony is in constant contact with the ambient temperature and the wire mesh floor guarantees a fresh supply of air. These colonies do not embark on early brood rearing in spring and thus do not suffer any significant forager bee losses.

Old school beekeepers may still insist on wrapping there bees up snug and warm in Winter but new evidence points to mesh floors being the way to go.