Final Winter Prep
On Saturday, November 18, 2023 it was sunny but cold enough to work around the hives without the bees "helping" me too much! I stapled Reflectix bubble wrap insulation on the vertical hive on the right in the picture above and on the three sides of the blue long hive in the middle in the picture above. Reflectix has an r value of 7. I then stapled tar paper over the Refectix on both hives. The tan long hive is double walled, so as I mentioned in my previous post, it doesn't need any further winter prep. I made sure the top and bottom entrances were clear and there was plenty of ventilation. There were dead bees on the entrance of the blue long hive. That could be good - they are cleaning out their dead bees, or it could be bad - there was fighting at the entrance due to robbing. It is hard to tell. I will moniter it throughout the winter. Now I have finished all my winter prep and will just look at them throughout the winter and see how they do. In spite of the lateness of the season, there are still a few blooms out and about, broccoli gone to flower, some late mums and even a few dandelions and straggling asters and goldenrod. The bees find what is there. There was a bee with pollen in her baskets on the tar paper when I insulated the vertical hive. I am not sure if she successfully made it into the hive or not, it was pretty cold. As you can see, I have the hives protected from the wind with fencing that is on the north and west sides. This is probably the single most important element in winter survival. Protection from the wind gives the bees the ability to manage their temperature inside the hives.
All three hives are alive now. I will post from time to time over the winter with updates.