They’re fine and now ready for winter

Busy Bees

Busy Bees

My bees gave me a bit of a scare recently, but all is well. Hive 1 is amazing and the workers zoom in and out as if it’s spring-time rather than autumn – with major honey stores to prove it. Hive 2 is queen-right and there is some good brood in the hive with the colony collecting pollen and nectar in great quantities and converting a lot of that nectar to honey – way more honey than they’ll need for winter. Hive 3, with the new, young queen, is growing; more activity, more brood and some honey. All is right in my little bee garden.

Honey stores for winter

Honey stores for winter

Winter is just around the corner, whether my bees want to accept it or not. In Sydney, there isn’t a serious winter, but, all the same, the days are shorter and the nights are colder so the bees slow down. To help the colonies through the next few months, we’ve taken the simple step of placing a hive mat (a sheet of linoleum) between the lower and upper supers. The linoleum helps stop heat loss and allows the bees to stay toasty in their brood and 1 super. There’s space around the linoleum to allow the bees access to the top super in case there’s a sudden flow on, plus the bees can keep the comb free from wax moth which is something I’m unable to do (short of storing the frames in a freezer).

Hive mat between the 2 supers to keep the hive warm in winter

Hive mat between the 2 supers to keep the hive warm in winter

That’s the full extent of my winter prep. Beekeeping is a breeze in Sydney and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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14 Responses to They’re fine and now ready for winter

  1. Your close-up of the bees on the honeycomb is lovely and the frame of honey looks delicious. I shouldn’t be thinking greedy thoughts about their winter stores.

    • The close-up shows a drone (love those big eyes) right in the middle. I guess that shows how much surplus my bees have and how confident they are that they will be harvesting more nectar since they haven’t killed off all the drones. We spotted several on the brood frames. But still, you shouldn’t covet their winter stores!

  2. vuchickens says:

    Wow! Easiest Winter prep I’ve ever heard of! 🙂

  3. It must feel good to have them all set up and ready for the winter.

  4. Amazing, a well done to both you and the bees.

  5. Well done Laura, you did amazing! (ok the bees helped a little!) xxx

    • The bees didn’t so much help, as not hinder. They just buzzed about wondering what in the world I was doing. I imagine they spent the next few hours speculating what that linoleum is supposed to be good for 🙂

  6. So glad all is well. Beautiful photos as usual.

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