Adopt-A-Hive: Quarterly Update
Quarter 1 - 2022
By Bear Country Bees
We’re now in the thick of the winter season which is the most difficult time for your adopted bees. Beekeepers like us spend the majority of the season helping their bees build up the colony so that they have the best chance of survival during the winter.
Your adopted bees, in particular, looked FANTASTIC as we winterized them so we’re hoping for the best till the warmer temperatures arrive. But there are still things that have to be done while your bees huddle together in their winter cluster.
Just last year, we lost a colony of bees to something we’d never seen before in 18+ years. The bees were strong and we’d left them plenty of food (something we vehemently advocate) but they still did not survive.
Upon investigating, we discovered that this particular colony had not moved around inside the beehive during the winter and had starved as a result. They’d eaten all of the food that was available in their immediate vicinity but hadn’t moved to the other parts of the hive where food was readily available.
Did you know?
There are over 20,000 different species of bees but only one creates a substance suitable for human consumption? The honey bee is the only type of bee that creates “honey” as we know it. The rest of the bee types create various forms of nectars that are not suitable for humans.
This has made it necessary for us to adjust our processes and stay incredibly vigilant even during the wintertime. We now check on your adopted bees periodically throughout the winter to ensure they are moving around and eating the available food.
If they are not moving around, we gently maneuver full frames to that part of the hive and move the (now) empty frames to the furthest reaches. Giving them easier access to the food allows them to focus on eating and staying warm instead of moving around.
It’s important to be flexible and careful when we do these check-ins, however. If your adopted hive is exposed to cold temperatures, it will freeze them and we’ll lose your colony.
We either wait until the temperatures reach ~55°F or bring artificial heat to the area to keep them warmer just long enough to do our check-ins. We’ve already scheduled these check-ins and will make any needed adjustments.
That said, we hope for the best for your adopted bees and look forward to seeing them come on strong in the spring!
If conservation of natural resources [including honey bees] goes wrong, nothing else will go right.
- M. S. Swaminathan