The bee season is coming to a close, and it’s time for our last visit of the hives, to make sure everyone is doing well and to treat them for varoa mites. We treat them organically. Varoa is a kind of tick that affects all hives, and more specifically the bees, it attaches to a bee and utimately sucks the life out of them.(It doesn’t affect the Honey production). The colonies must be treated throughout the season to lower the pressure of the invasion and avoid it killing off the bees. Also, the colder it is, the better, so that the varroa die off, but ultimately the idea each season is to try and keep the pressure down so it doesn’t weaken the colony.
So, back to the job at hand, checking on the hives after having extracted the honey and before the winter season sets in, since the colony will be getting smaller, from 50,000 bees in the height of summer to around 10,000 who will mostly hibernate, keeping the queen safe and the hive warm. These bees are born at the end of the season and they have a life span of 4 months, compared to the worker bees who only live for 6 weeks since they work so hard all summer. You’ll find it interesting to know that a bee only gathers nectar & pollen in the last 2 weeks of her life. Throughout her life, she will nourish the larvae, make the wax honeycomb, clean the hive, and transform & stock the honey, being sure to remove the humidity from the honey, and then closing it up the combs with wax.
We installed a cushion on top of the feeder. The cushion is lined with fabric on the hive side and filled with wood chips. The wood chips will help evacuate the humidity from the hive, which is the major issue in the winter since it’s generally cold and wet out, and there are fewer bees to ventilate the hive. It will also create an insulation from the cold.
Looks like the ladies are doing well.
We will feed them syrup and then candy (a more solid syrup that doesn’t freeze when it gets very cold) throughout the winter, limiting our interventions as much as possible so the cold doesn’t get into the hive. As you can see above, the feeder is built in such a way that you don’t have to remove it to feed them.
They will keep the hive at 35°C and won’t come out unless it’s above 13°C and if all goes well, we’ll see them in the Spring 🙂