Winter has finally arrived in Kalamazoo with a gusty debut! This is a good opportunity to check your hives and make sure they are secured for the next few months of our Michigan climate.
High winds and animals pose a significant risk to any hive, but especially any vertical style hive like Langstroth and Warre hives. This is doubly true for narrower profile hives like 8 frame hives and 5 frame nucs. If you haven’t already done so, strap them down or weight them with a 20-pound rock or block. Windbreaks and other wintering preparation provide additional protection, and it’s not too late to give your bees an edge by shielding them from excessive drafts.
The WMU apiary suffered from the strong winds this week, and some corrective measures have been taken.
Images © Todd Smith 2017.
Edit: Be sure to check out Rusty Burlew’s site for a lot of great wintering information.
Remember that beekeeping is a highly local endeavor — what works for someone ten miles away may not work for you.
Thank you for the important and timely information!
Patricia Grupp says
Great to have a club that assists with good bee management! Thanks!
How do you make sure your bees have water. New to beekeeping and could use some information. I have top hive feeders that I am using to feed them fondant but do not know how to get them water. Any information would be helpful. Thank you
Jonathon Faust says
Jeff, in the winter in cold locations, the bees produce enough excess water through respiration that they should be able to consume solid sugars, either directly because of water vapor condensing on the sugar or intentionally by the bees using available water to dissolve the sugar into a consumable form.
Todd Smith says
The bee club also had hives topple over this June at the Kalamazoo Nature Center Apiary in the ten frame format. I’m not so sure there is much more inherent stability in a ten frame two inch wider hive than an eight frame hive, but I do know a tie down strap is cheap insurance against it falling down and promote it’s use. I’d attach pictures but don’t see that option in comments.
Thanks for reviving the club blog.
Richard Brenner says
I have been keeping bees sense 1963 and I must say I have never had a hive tip over. The main issue is to make sure they are on a solid foundation. If they feel tippy secure a solid setting for the hive. I use cement stands that are tapered and make sure they are level and have a solid footing. I loaned my form to my son that I make these stands from but as the present time he doesn’t know where it is. I suppose I could design another one.