Beekeeping in Mid November – time for action!

The so called “Mountain Camp method” Dry sugar right on top or the top bars is an easy effective way to help insure that your hives will not starve over the winter – also helps to control hive moisture. Lay damp newspaper right on the top bars leaving space for bees to climb over it. Pour dry sugar on the paper and spread it to 1/2″ thickness more or less then spray it with water to completely wet the surface. Continue adding layers and wetting them until finished. Use a shim or empty super as a spacer for the sugar. If you put a piece of wire mesh – any size large enough for bees to go through 3/8″ and up – under the newspaper then you will easily be able to remove and replace the (hard by then) sugar for early inspections or hive manipulations later.

It’s almost Thanksgiving and right on time the weather has confirmed that winter is arriving soon.

A few reminders and tips for this time of year:

  • You will be able to order package bees at our December 5 meeting.
  • If you have not already installed mouse guards – it’s time. Entrance reducers with 3/8″ slots – 3/8″ wire mesh – smaller mesh such as #8 or window screen wire with some holes enlarged with a pencil – store bought mouse guards. All will work, but it’s time to do it if you haven’t already.
  • If you have solid bottom boards make sure that rain will drain out of hives and not puddle inside.
  • Make sure your roofs don’t leak!
  • A hive strap or heavy rock on top of each hive will ease your mind when you wake up at night and  hear the wind blowing.
  • The time for feeding syrup is pretty much past – if you have hives that are light you need to plan to install feed in the form of Mt. Camp Sugar, candy, sugar bricks or something before your hives actually need it.  Now isn’t too soon.
  • Top ventilation – your hives are likely to perish without it because excessive condensation will drip cold water on your bees. They will be fine with a lot more ventilation than you probably think, but too little will kill them.
  • After Thanksgiving virtually all hives in our area will be broodless until sometime in January when queens will start laying a few eggs again to start the next season. This broodless period is a good time to treat hives for varroa mites – any treatment is most effective on a broodless hive – and usually there are a few nice days in December when you can get out and do it. If you plan to take advantage of this then you must have treatment materials on hand when the opportunity occurs.

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Bee Thinking

Meeting tommorrow night. Thurs. Nov. 7 @ 6:30 @ the extension office. It is not to early to start thinking about ordering bees next spring. We will be placing orders in Feb. and March. You will need to decide how many packages of bees you think you will want and start getting your wooden ware ready. The packages will be $85 per swarm this year according to Arliss. This could change a little high or low, but you could work on this price.