Our beekeeping tasks are winding down for the winter. However, there are still quite a few things to do before the snow falls. Bees are at their most vulnerable in late winter and early spring, with hive losses occurring mostly at this time. Therefore, it pays to prepare now in the autumn to ensure that the bees have the best chance of survival. Below you will see how we wrapped the McGill hive with insulating sheets tied together with tape and rope.
The bees still have an opening at the bottom of the hive and a smaller opening at the top of the hive. This ensures that they can exit the hive for cleansing flights on the occasional warm winter day. Also this allows for the air to circulate through the hive, avoiding any extremely damaging dampness that could spell demise for the hive.
During the winter, the bees gather together in a football-shaped cluster to keep warm, periodically changing positions to access food stores.
As winter draws to a close, total population numbers will have diminished considerably., balancing out somewhere around 10,000. Egg-laying, which tapers off in the autumn, resumes again in mid to late winter.
Strong hives with the best chance of winter survival are those that are well fed, relatively free of pests, in a cozy hive with ventilation.
With that being said, we wish our McGill hive good luck over the next few months, and we look forward to seeing the buzzing honeybees when the snow melts.