We prepared all the hives at the apiary for the winter this month. We swapped the top supers of the two larger vertical hives, so the insulated one had all its insulated boxes. We then reduced its entrance and it was all ready for winter since it has permanent insulation. The other large vertical hive, we wrapped with Reflectix bubble wrap insulation, stapled it on with 9/16" staples and then wrapped a layer of tar paper over that, also stapled on. We put in an entrance reducer and put a burlap bag with a sheep fleece in it in the top for insulation and moisture absorption.
The little split hive had popped its alighting board. We had put the shims under it, and apparently as the hive gained weight, the flimsy alighting board couldn't support it and popped off. We took it off and moved the shims to the side. It isn't level, but at this point in the season that isn't important. We will level it in the spring. We then prepared that hive the same as the large vertical hive. We decided it must have a decent amount of honey if the weight knocked off the alighting board, so we didn't move any honey stores around, or give them any more. We also decided they probably didn't need feeding. Ken Hoekstra hefted it and said it felt quite heavy.
The long hive has an insulated top, so we just wrapped it and stapled 1/2" hardware cloth over the larger part of the entrance to keep mice out.
Here we have our hardworking beekeepers getting Fran Galow's donated long hive placed and leveled! We decided to set it up empty for the winter to test whether it was able to keep snow and ice out of the hive. The guys did get up and quickly got it set up and leveled after we finished winterizing the other hives. In the spring we will probably transfer the bees from the existing horizontal hive to that one if they survive the winter, or at least make a split that way from it.
So, the bees are bedded down for the winter and we will periodically check from the outside throughout the fall and winter to see how they are doing and I will document that throughout the season. Thanks to all who came out for field days this season and helped keep the hives going!