Winter finally came...
After a pretty mild December, snow and cold arrived. The weather is really pretty typical for Michigan, up and down. For two or three days it is frigid cold and below zero wind chills, then two or three days of balmy, above freezing temps. I am hoping the winter insulation will help the bees keep the temps more moderate in the hive in these wild fluctuations.
The third hive over in this picture - on the right - somehow lost its entrance reducer and a mouse has taken up residence. I found the entrance reducer buried in the snow in front of the entrance. I decided at this point it was too late to put it back in, and trap the mouse inside, so, since this is an experimental apiary after all - we will see how it looks in the spring.
The hives seem to look good at this point. The small split is the only one I am a little skeptical about. It just may not be big enough to survive, but I have been surprised before.
This is Fran Galow's long hive. It is empty right now, we wanted to see how it did in the winter to see if we need to tweak anything before adding bees in the spring. The porch roof seems to be doing its job to keep the entrances clear. Inside there was some moisture, we think from the snow build-up on the porch roof. We had the inner covers turned so there wasn't any airspace between the top cover and the top of the inner covers. We swapped those around and will check again when we get a little thaw to see if that helps with the moisture problem. It's kind of nice to experiment with no bees inside.