Preparing your hives for Winter

Summer Meeting at Fairoaks Airport, 18th September 2021

The subject of this meeting was “Preparing your hives for Winter.”

As had been advised in David Parker’s notes that had been circulated in advance of the meeting, he winters his bees on two brood boxes with 8 frames in each thus closer simulating the colony nest in a hollow tree. The spare space either side is filled with insulating board to reduce heat loss during winter.

Disappointingly only 15 members turned up and 5 of those were committee members. The group was split into two groups and allocated 2 or 3 hives to go through. The plan was 1) to assess how much food each hive had, 2) to check that it was queenright and 3) to scratch the Apivar strips that were in the hives. The latter had been in for 3 weeks and the process of scratching the strips with a hive tool removes any wax or propolis and increases the effectiveness for the last three weeks. After inspecting each colony the estimated stores were recorded on the Hive record and the feeders filled up with appropriate additional sugar solution.

After we rejoined as one group away from the bees for tea, David showed us the mixing paddle and drill that he uses for mixing the sugar in his plastic containers. Using this he can prepare food and mix it into solution in three minutes.

We then had a picnic tea and talked about bees. An interesting meeting for those beginners who attended and everyone enjoyed the afternoon. Our thanks go to David for hosting the meeting.

Michael Main

Thanks for your report Michael. As you said, it’s a pity the attendance was so poor. David has sent details of the mixing paddle he uses for making up sugar syrup, as mentioned in the report above: