With the end of September, a colder and wetter day is coming, which certainly announces the winter period. This is a good time for beekeepers to think about preparing bees for overwintering. In our geo-ecological conditions, the preparation of bees for wintering begins with the end of the last grazing, when the bees release drones, which usually coincides with the period of August and September, depending on the weather conditions or troubles.
The latest practice is that bees should be fed with ten to fifteen liters of syrup at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, although it may be the case that there is enough honey in the nests at that time. It is necessary to take away the excess of natural honey (up to 20 kg) from the bees, that is, to squeeze it so that the bees, when the honeycombs come back, feed them with syrup to the required total amount of food.
This procedure ensures that the queens lay an increasing number of eggs in the fall, and the bees will enter the wintering process with a larger number of workers, and at the same time the food handed over from the added sugar syrup will be stored in the honeycomb cells from which the last autumn litter.
It is well known that bees that emerge from the autumn brood are more ready for wintering than bees from the summer brood. They are morphologically more advanced because they have better developed pharyngeal glands and additional adipose tissue, which provides them with additional protection and reserves of proteins and fats. This kind of material provides them with life during several months of cold winter.
If necessary, you can supplement the wintering food later in late autumn and winter by adding solid food for the bees, when there are no broods in the nest.
Another important thing is the timely narrowing of the nest. Depending on the type of hives, this is achieved in different ways. In Dadan-Blato’s hive, the honeycomb is removed and the bees spend the winter days in the brood box. In the Langstroth-Ruth hive, it is necessary to remove the honeycomb and leave the bees to winter in the two bodies that make up the fruiting body, but take care that there is more honey in the honeycomb in the upper body than in the lower body. In poloshka beehives, the number of frames that bees densely occupy at that time should be narrowed with the help of partition boards, up to 12 normal obstacles are advised.
After feeding and narrowing the nest, beekeepers often practice warming, which in our conditions is very desirable and often necessary for a good wintering of bees. The extensions of the hives should be covered with material that will be placed on the cover board, while in the poleshka nests it is necessary to warm them from the side, to the outer partition boards. Different types of materials are used for these purposes: newspapers, styrofoam, tow-filled pads or hollow plastic materials.
Regardless of the warming, it is good to ventilate the hives from time to time and keep them that way. This is usually advised over the winter on a warm and sunny day, but not at very low temperatures.
Many beekeepers make the mistake of removing snow from hives. It is not necessary to remove the snow, because that will upset the bee colony. Snow is an excellent insulator and prevents frost and wind from reaching the hives themselves. Of course, when melting snow and warmer days, it is good to remove it so that humidity and mold doesn’t appear in the hives.
In order to enjoy the spring fruits of your society, it is necessary to ensure the normal wintering of bees by providing all the above facts in this text. We also advise consultations with other, more experienced beekeepers because the role of beekeepers and overwintering techniques is very important.