Winterizing Hives for 2013
The bees are all wrapped up and ready for the winter chill. We got through mite control in decent shape, and the populations of the hives are mostly very good. Hopefully I will have more March/April images of hives brimming with bees in an overwintering success story, but we have many days of wondering and waiting ahead. Here is one that is snugly contained in its plastic corrugated carton with a migratory lid on top. While I still staple colony quilt on most the hives in eastern Iowa, the Lynnville operation has shifted mostly to cartons. They are wonderfully convenient to put on and pull off.
The main point of interest going through this fall involved the level of feeding that was necessary. Very little honey came in as a fall flow stored in the brood chambers. I had to supplement some of them with two gallons to keep them alive earlier in the fall, and then continue with a few more gallons of surplus to get them up to weight for winter. If other hives in Iowa were as light as mine going through fall, I'm afraid there will be a lot of beekeepers with starved bees in the January-March stretch of time. Hopefully I'm not right, but it has been a concern on my mind for several weeks as our own preparations continued. This is probably the most feeding I've ever needed to perform in order to feel secure about winter food supplies.