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An upper entrance in winter

For nearly ten years, I have not put upper entrances in my winter hives. My primary concern for winter was ventilation, but since I began using ventilated quilts on the top and screens on the bottom, I haven’t had any moisture or ventilation problems at all. My hives stayed dry and upper entrances seemed like […] Read more

Stings of winter bees

Don’t be confused. Today’s post has nothing to do with science or facts; it has only to do with an inkling I get about wintertime honey bees. After years of first-hand observation, it seems to me that the stings of winter bees are worse than the stings of summer bees. Yesterday provided a perfect example. […] Read more

winter hive check: what to look for

When you check your winter hives, what do you look for? How often? Should you open them? Should you use a checklist? What if something is wrong? The answer for me is simple: I get nervous as a cat if I don’t check my hives at least once a week all winter long. But “check” […] Read more

Have beekeepers gone bananas?

Every few years we raise a new crop of beekeepers who want to feed bananas to their bees as a winter supplement. The forums are filled with anecdotal stories of bees thriving on ripe bananas while overcoming every imaginable pathogen and parasite. A recent Instagram posting explained that the potassium in bananas will help the […] Read more

wintertime projects: skeps and honey pots

Over many years of blogging, certain beekeepers have kept me entertained by sending photos of their latest creative masterpieces. One of those is Michael Skeels of Frenchtown, Montana. Like others with a creative streak, Michael uses the long winters to prepare for bee season. This year he writes: You know how winter can be long […] Read more

The worst thing about the spring equinox

The very worst thing about the spring equinox is its proximity to the summer solstice. In just three short months we will begin the inexorable slide into winter. In just ninety days, the hours of daylight will begin to diminish and we beekeepers will begin thinking about overwintering our colonies. Again. It seems like that’s […] Read more

Overwintering honey bees in single deep hives

For the second year in a row, I’m overwintering my bees in single-deep hives. After years of running double deeps, and three years with triple deeps, I went to singles beginning about sixteen months ago. My decision was prompted by Thomas Seeley’s discussions of single deeps and the fact that very large colonies seem to […] Read more

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