October 30, 2010
submitted by J. Orem
It's fall and time to think about keeping the wind off the bee hive. We use hay bales that will later be used to feed the animals in early spring. It is important to keep the wind off the hive but not the sun. We try to keep the windbreak high enough to keep the wind off but still allows the sun to warm the hive.
Ideally the windbreak should be close enough to break the prevailing winds and should allow you to walk behind the hive. We scatter our hives about the yard so it is difficult to give them a perfect break every time.
Last fall I made a shed from scrap barn metal for our nucs. it seemed to work fine. The hay bales keep the wind from blowing the bee shed away. in the summer I weigh it down to keep summer storms from blowing it away.
Other Beekeepers use plywood or square bales or metal or the barn to keep the wind off the bee hive. I hope others will post what they use.
Here's a gallery of images to see a few set-ups. We'd love to see your pictures. If you send them, we'll post them in the gallery.
October 01, 2010
The entrance is now about 3/8" by about 2". It can easily be cleaned out with a pencil when the dead bees pile up on the inside.
submitted by Jim Orem
I have been watching the goldenrod turn from bright yellow to gold and soon it will be brown. The honeybees are already starting to work the asters. We pulled supers and harvested honey on Monday (see the Fall Haul images in the gallery). Now it is time to think about fall and winter.
If your hives are still light after goldenrod you may want to feed 2:1 sugar syrup. We use a hive top feeder for fall feeding. Sometimes we just combine the hives that are light with ones that are heavy.
Entrance reducers are on the list of things to build for this month. We won't put them on yet but it is time to have them ready. I usually find myself putting them on the last possible minute. Usually it is raining or sleeting and it will be around frosting time. I make my own entrance reducers. They have a small piece of metal on the front that keeps the mice out. Keeping the hives 12"-16" off the ground also helps to keep the mice out. The reducers are the same thickness as the entrance but they are wider than the standard 3/4" that you can buy. It tucks under the bottom box and is still easy to pull out in the spring. Sometimes we are removing reducers before we have time to go through and clean for spring.
The nails should just hold the reducer in place not be nailed down tight. Leave the heads stick up so you can pull them easily in the spring. The entrance is now about 3/8" by about 2". It can easily be cleaned out with a pencil when the dead bees pile up on the inside.
Some of our hives have a screened bottom board that stays on all year around. The bottom is still covered to protect it from the cold winds. If we are using a regular bottom board we will prop the back end up about a half inch. This keeps the water draining out. The screen does that in the screened bottom board.
The shim is in the lower right above the concrete block and the bottom board. the little pieces of tin cover the holes I put in for ventilation in the summer time. The inner cover goes notch up and we pull the top as far foreword as we can to allow air and bees to pass through the top if the bottom gets blocked.
This hive is ready to go into fall and possibly winter. Sometime around thanksgiving we will pull the inner cover off and add the candy board.
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