November – December
I’m down to monitoring and servicing my hives every two weeks in November. I’m already supplemental feeding all the hives with honey from my stockpile of unsold honey that have either crystalized, have a bad taste or started to ferment. I do this to give the bees enough to stockpile and build up their reserves. I pull those supers that have been emptied by the bees these months and continue to remove empty supers up through the months of February. I don’t leave empty supers on my hives during the late fall, winter and early spring months. In my monitoring and servicing I check the West traps, SHB traps, the Swiffers and the Bee Pro pollen patties and at times I sample for varroa mites using the powdered sugar sampling method. [With the MAQS used in September, I have never found many mites. If I had I would have used oxalic acid with a Varrox fogger. The bee’s brood population is at its lowest this time of year and this technique will treat the mites very effectively.] As soon as the pollen patties have been eaten I place another one in the hive. I also manage the vegetation around the hives.
I repair the woodenware from my hives at this time and I try to accomplish this before the New Year. I also order materials I may need for next season. With the annual LBA conference and the various dealers coming, I often order and pick the item(s) up at that event – especially if I’d have to pay shipping costs with my order. Utilizing the dealers, I can avoid that.
This is the quiet time of year. Sit back and enjoy the holidays but be sure to visit your hives and carry out maintenance and upkeep. In December and into January, I usually visit them once/month. At that time I will select a day when the daytime temperatures have warmed into the 50+ Fo range and then I will break open the brood boxes and examine each hive for brood, pollen and honey reserves.
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