Cold Weather Chores
It may be cold outside preventing us from spending time with our bees – but one thing is for sure, you still have chores to do!
Here is a checklist of some housekeeping that beekeepers can take care of while our bees are warmly tucked away inside their hives:
- Paint boxes – Winter is the perfect time of year to give those existing hives a quick coat of paint. On a cool, dry day with little hive activity, you shouldn’t have any trouble from the bees while you complete this task. I’d suggest wearing at least a veil just in case, but otherwise taking advantage of the current conditions will prolong the life of your hive boxes for years. And don’t forget those gaps on the corners – a little wood putty or caulk work prior to painting can prevent a serious robbing frenzy next year!
- Building boxes – Spring will be here before we know it. Take advantage of the indoor garage time to build boxes and frames. Not only can you save a little money assembling them yourself, it’s also a fun family project on a cold winter day!
- Moving hives – Moving bees can be difficult especially in the production months (March – September). Moving your bees to a better place on your property is never easier than during the winter months. Colonies are at the lowest population of the year – the bees are tucked inside waiting out the cold – and the boxes are at their lightest weight of the year due to less honey and other resources. Moving bees now prevents any orientation issues and fly backs to old location. No need to worry about the 2-foot, 2-mile rule!
- Get organized – For tenured beekeepers, back-stock bee supplies tend to get out of control. While it’s cold outside, take the opportunity to organize the garage, barn, or honey house – getting things in order and ready for spring! You will be much happier walking into an organized work area where you can find what you’re looking for!
- Order bees/queens! – It never fails, every year best intentions are to be ahead of the game and get your replacement bees or queens on order EARLY. But l-i-f-e gets in the way and once again we find ourselves needing to get our spring split queens secured only to find out the soonest available date is 4-6 weeks after you plan to do splits. Ugh! Ordering early is key! Orders placed in November and December will put you at the front of the line instead of somewhere in the middle or even the end. Don’t procrastinate! Make 2022 your year to be ahead of schedule!!