It's that time of year...time to put certain parts of the farm to bed for the winter. Each autumn around this time....before the winds turn too cold, we do a final inspection of our hives and get them winterized. Yesterday I had a bit of help....my daughter. Check her out in her bee suit....
I open each hive and inspect its health and strength, remove any supers that are empty, remove the queen excluder and place a top feeder on the top beneath the inner cover. This feeder is filled with sugar syrup (that I made this morning) and will serve to feed the bees...helping to make their honey stores stretch a bit further.
I use black roofing paper as a blanket around the hives. The black helps to absorb the warmth of the winter sun and also acts as a wind break for those cold winter winds.
I also turn my entrance reducers to the smallest opening.
This year has been a learning experience for me....and one of the things I learned is that my bees did not like the supers above the queen excluders. In the two hives that I used queen excluders, there was absolutely no activity above the excluders....no comb being drawn or anything. The hives without excluders did much better....and ended up with larger honey stores.
Of course, while we were working on the hives, TomTom was busy supervising....from a safe distance!!