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Winter Plans

I did get my hives wrapped on October 18, 2018. I did not leave upper entrances right now. In fact, I put solid inner covers on and closed the hives up so that the only entrance is the reduced bottom entrance. This is purposeful to reduce robbing as much as possible and to give the bees the best chance to defend the hive. In the past two years the commercial beekeeper has not removed his hives until mid-November. I know he has not removed them yet, but looking today I was glad to see he has not increased hives in the locations near mine. I had thought he might use his new property to stage hives in preparation for moving to Florida for the winter. Today I "hefted" each of the three remaining hives. The two with Mary Bouma's bees felt heavy to me. The little hive felt light. It is late to feed, but I may put a top feeder on that hive next week, it will die without it, so it doesn't matter much at this point.

So, I think for now I will leave the hives where they are for the winter. I will open up the top entrances and put in top insulation after the commercial beekeeper leaves. That will be early enough, before the bees need upper entrances and before it is bitterly cold. I have a couple of options for moving the hives next spring. I will visit sites and make preparations probably in the next few weeks. If I get sites prepared, I may move the hives in the winter when I have helpers, if the weather permits.

For next season I do not have plans to do field days because the location I will probably choose is far away (Hickory Corners/Battle Creek) and is private property and I am not sure the family would appreciate crowds coming for field days. I need at least one season to rebuild and get back to actually producing honey and being a successful beekeeper before doing more field days.

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