Adopt-A-Hive: Quarterly Update
Quarter 4 - 2019
By Bear Country Bees
It’s hard to believe that we’ve already nearing the end of the 2019 beekeeping season! This season has proved eventful, fun, and productive for your adopted beehive, Smokey.
Though we are in the typical extraction timeframe, we will not be doing so with Smokey this year. It is common for beekeepers to not extract honey from a beehive when a brand new bee package is installed (you may recall that we did this with Smokey earlier this year).
We leave the food supply for the bees in an effort to give them the best possible chances at survival. This is a normal part of the beekeeping process, but we certainly hope we’ll be able to extract from Smokey next season.
Since we will not extract this year, our next step will be to prepare Smokey for the winter. We’ve boiled the process for successfully wintering beehives down to 3 critical steps that we will take in the next couple of weeks. Each of these steps helps ensure that your honey bee colony inside Smokey is well taken care of. These steps are as follows:
Did you know?
Although a honey bee’s brain is only about the size of a sesame seed, it has an incredible capacity to learn and remember complex distance calculations and measures of foraging efficiency.
- 1Leave plenty of food (at least 2 full hive bodies) for the bees
- 2Combine weak hives together to create stronger hives
- 3Provide protection from the elements
Note: If you’d like full details on our hive wintering recommendations for beekeepers, please see our free online course that explains the exact process.
It is possible that we will add additional bees from another colony to Smokey in order to help both hives be as strong as possible going into the winter. We will determine the need for this in the next few weeks.
Once all of the pre-wintering arrangements are made, we’ll place Smokey in a safe and secure place in the back of our barn for the remainder of the winter. That will bring about the successful conclusion of this season.
Smokey (left) is currently sitting on a pallet outside where the temperatures are a little warmer. This allows the bees can take advantage of the last opportunities to forage prior to winter.
In a few weeks, we will move Smokey into a safe spot in our barn where the bees will be protected from the wind and snow that are prevalent during the winter as well as disturbances from animals, etc.
When early spring arrives, we will perform some preliminary checks to determine how your bees are doing and make needed adjustments. If they are alive and well, we will move Smokey back out into the sun and let the bees begin to forage. As needed, we’ll provide the colony with supplemental food (sugar water).
Thank you for a great 2019 season!
Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to 7 billion people.
- Achim Steiner
Former Executive Director UN Environment Program (UNEP)