Adopt-A-Hive: Quarterly Update
Quarter 4 - 2021
By Bear Country Bees
As we prepare to winter your adopted hive, we’re always conscious of the need to prepare them to survive several long, cold months. It’s a hard time for bees so we try to give them every possible edge to help them get through till next year.
An unfortunate part of beekeeping is that not every bee colony will survive the winter. It’s simply not realistic to expect every one to make it. That’s just not how agriculture works.
Did you know?
The queen is the central focus of any bee colony. In fact, if she leaves the beehive, the rest of colony knows about it within 15 minutes.
However, there are things that we as beekeepers can do. We’ve seen a lot of newer beekeepers making the same consistent mistakes that cause them to lose beehives (unnecessarily). In fact, we saw so many mistakes that we created an entire online course dedicated to helping new beekeepers avoid these mistakes. As we’ve observed these issues, we’ve seen that winterization is by far the biggest area of these missteps.
We’ve talked for a long time about leaving enough food for the bees to eat during the wintertime. But another aspect of winterization that is equally as important is making sure you have strong hives before the snow and cold hit. Without that strength, there’s no hope for your adopted bees.
While it’s not the sexy thing to do or talk about, we focus on having fewer beehives that are stronger rather than having more beehives. The stronger the hive, the better chances of survival during the winter time.
One of the beehives in our apiary wasn’t as strong this season as we hoped so we combined it with your adopted beehive to give both colonies a better chance at surviving. It took about 3 days to integrate them together so they wouldn’t attack each other. Now that the integration is complete, they are preparing to hunker down and winterize together.
Combining weak hives together + our other 2 principles of wintering beehives gives your adopted bees the best chances of survival. As the winter months roll on, all we can do is wait to see how well they manage. With a little bit of luck, we’ll have a good healthy colony that will get a great start in spring. Cheers!
Here, then, is the short answer to every beekeeping issue. Give them the resources to resolve the problem and let them. If you can’t give them the resources, then limit the need for the resources.
- Michael Bush, Commercial Beekeeper