Ready for winter
Today was in the low 80's which is the warmest it has been or probably will be for quite a while. My goal today was to reduce entrances and make sure the hives had enough honey for winter. I will insulate them on a cooler day. I learned to check the long blue hive first because the bees always keep buzzing me for a while after I close the hive. By doing it first, they are calmed down by the time I want to take off my beesuit. They looked really good. They had a ton of honey. I still think they are a little grumpier than I like, but that may just be the bees. This is the first time I ever used a Saskatraz queen. They were acting queen-right in the sense that they were organized and working on a section of the combs. I had placed an entrance reducer in front of their entrance a week or so ago. Even though it isn't pushed into the opening, they proplolized it, so it is secure. It is doing its job, so I left it in place. They don't need anything else except insulation for winter.
Next, I checked the little hive next to the blue hive. It was a late split started with a Saskatraz queen. It has three mediums. The top one has a little honey in it. The next one down was so heavy I could barely lift it, and the bottom had the brood. I felt it had enough honey for winter, so even though I brought a feeder to set on it if need be, I decided not to use it. I put an entrance reducer in so if robber bees come around in the next few weeks, they can defend themselves.
After that, I checked the vertical hive with the first nuc from Mary Bouma. It had one deep and four mediums on it. The top box was empty, so I removed it. Below that, the next one had a few frames of honey. The one below that had more full frames. I left it as is, rather than try to rearrange combs, feeling the bees can figure it out for themselves. So it has one deep and three mediums. I think that is reasonable for winter. I reduced its entrance. It was very calm.
The long white hive was last. It is double walled, so it is good to go for winter except putting a mouse screen on the entrance at a point. It looked really good. It had a good amount of honey and the bees were so calm they didn't even pay any attention to me at all when I opened the hive.
So, on a cool day later on in the month I will put on my insulation, flip inner covers and put blankets in the top of each of the three hives that are not double-walled. I will wait until I am sure all the commerical hives are gone so that I don't flip the inner covers too soon and make them easier to rob.