Buttoning up

We’ve had an extraordinary November here in the northeast US. While nighttime lows have been fairly normal, around 28 degrees F., daytime temperatures have hit record highs all month. By noon today it was overcast and 57. I have put off getting out to the bee yard to set things right for winter because the bees have been out and active, but one of these days winter will set in with a vengeance – that’s just the way it is.

I decided to take my smoker and wear my suit, and I’m glad I did. It was quite warm and still and the bees were active, poking their heads up over the comb as soon as I opened the inner cover. This is a very social, calm hive but I think the suit and smoker allow me to relax around them and avoid passing on my anxiety. They can tell if I’m nervous.

hive wrap in progressI put newspaper directly over the frames, leaving a small gap to accommodate the upper entrance, then replaced the shim and inner cover and piled more newsprint over that. You can see that I’m using The Islander and Barrons. Tony J. is partial to the WSJ. The first layer of hive-wrap is on, too.

The next step is to add the second tier of hive-wrap and tuck it under the telescoping cover. I punch a small hole in the top to correspond to the upper entrance. The bees neaten it up with a later of propolis after a while. Et voila! Ready for winter.

hive wrap complete

I also put away the hive that swarmed early and didn’t make it. I’ve allowed the remaining hive to rob the honey so all that’s left is drawn comb and cells of bright orange pollen around the edges. Beautiful! There are also a few supercedure cells on the vertical frames, if you look closely. I moved these boxes into the hoop house for the winter. This spring the new colony, arriving through the USPS, will have some drawn comb to make them feel at home.

comb with pollen

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