Bedding down for winter

It’s now November and the clocks have gone back, the nights are getting chilly and the leaves are beginning to fall so not surprisingly the bees are tucking themselves in for the winter. There isn’t too much for us to do at this time apart from making sure the hive is as cozy as can bee. So recently we made sure that the hive was well and gave the bees a feed of some thick sugar water solution. This sweet drink, much like the nectar from the flora, gives them the chance to store up excess honey for the cold winter months ahead.
After reading a bit and speaking to fellow apiarists at the National Honey Show last month we decided to take away our Varroa screen for the winter which made it easier for us to close the entrance down to just a finger width opening. Easily enough room for the bees to come and go on those rare sunny days we get in winter but small enough to stop unwelcome visitors looking for a warm and sweet place to raid.
They were looking healthy and well and we hope that they will flourish in the spring and continue to produce the most wonderful urban honey.

They look so sweet as if they are waiting for the starting gun.

Alison behind the hive with the reduced opening. The opening is that little black hole towards the bottom left of the hive.

Here’s one of our bees laden with pollen. Being late in the year we reckon it may be ivy pollen.

Brian is pouring the sugar water into the Ashford feeder – a wooden box that fits onto the hive with an opening for the bees to get to the liquid.

A pic of the brood frames (from the bottom).

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