Winter’s Comin’, y’all!! It’s time to start your cold weather prep around the homestead. Preparing your beehives should be at the top of your to-do list at this time of you. Knowing how to keep honeybees alive & healthy throughout the winter is crucial for sustainable beekeeping. The bees do this pretty well on their own, but you have to do your part as their landlord to keep the hive in good shape and to prep them for the cold months ahead. In my full post on The Frugal Chicken, I go into detail about these 5 things that you should know before overwintering honeybees.
We lost a hive or two in our first year of beekeeping because the learning curve was much larger than we had anticipated. Do your research and be prepared before the winter weather hits so that you can avoid the same loss that we experienced.
5 Things You Should Know About Overwintering Honeybees
1. How to Feed Honeybees in Winter
- Learn different ways to feed your bees for optimum honey production & to help your bees save their energy.
2. How Much Honey Should You Leave for the Bees?
- Find out how much honey you need to leave for your bees in the winter.
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3. How Do You Keep a Hive Strong Over the Winter?
- Do you know what pests & diseases to look for in your hives?
4. What are the Best Ways to Weatherproof a Hive?
- See what you should do to keep your bees safe from the cold weather & predators.
5. When is it Okay to Open a Hive in the Winter?
- To open or not to open…that is the question…
Now you can get started with your hive management prep for the winter!
I wouldn’t give you my suggestions for overwintering honeybees without giving you the resources to apply those suggestions! Go through this list of resources (books, courses, products for the hive, DIY tutorials) to see what will work for you & your hives!
Honeybee Hive Management / Overwintering Honeybees Resources
- Backyard Beekeeper– The perfect book to get you started! I keep this one in my home library to reference throughout the year.
- Hive Management: A Seasonal Guide for Beekeepers (Storey’s Down-To-Earth Guides)– A great book to reference for seasonal hive management.
- BeekThinking Overwintering Series– I LOVE BeeThinking! Check out their overwintering video series!
- Apiary Record Keeping– The ULTIMATE guide for Homestead Mamas has Apiary Records tucked inside.
- How to Make Sugar Water to feed your bees when the temperature is above freezing.
- How to Make Sugar Cakes to feed your honeybees in the winter.
- How to Make Grease Patties… These double as food & mite control!
- How to Make a Quilt Box to keep your bees warm.
Hive Management Supplies & Tools
- Hive Beetle Trap
- 100% Tung Oil to waterproof your hive walls
- Entrance Reducer to keep harmful animals like mice) out of the hive
- Smoker – This is a MUST HAVE item for beekeeping at any time of year!
- Solid Bottom Board
Have you tried overwintering honeybees in the past? What worked best for you?