September Field Day
Today we did the early winter prep on the hives, which just consisted of flipping the inner covers. The inner cover on the left above is in the "summer" position. The bees can enter through the notches in the inner cover, but must go through the hole to enter the hive. This allows for better defense from robbers. The inner cover on the right is in the "winter" position. This allows the bees direct access to the hive through the notches in the inner cover. This allows the beekeeper to place insulation/absorbent material on top of the inner cover, but allows the bees to use the notches as alternative entrances in the winter and also give the hive top ventilation. This is especially important in a vertical hive so if the main entrance gets blocked by snow, they still can come and go for cleansing flights. I added extra notches. Purchased notched inner covers have only one notch.
I decided the blue hive must have swarmed, but it still has a very good population of bees, they are storing new nectar, they are bringing in pollen and they were not grumpy, so I am assuming they made a new queen and all is well. We flipped their inner covers and left them as they are.
The vertical hive has completely filled five frames in the middle of the second deep, and have worked a tiny bit on the medium super. I flipped their inner cover. I will evaluate in October whether to take off the super for the winter since it is mostly empty.
The tan hive looked really good. They did not need anything because they are double walled, and their inner covers are nested in, so they can only go one way. I removed the stick I had in there for summer ventilation and that was all we did with them.