Gearing up for Winter

Weather permitting, we will have a hive visit this Thursday (3 November); as usual, we’ll send our members an email to confirm. We’re departing from our usual Wednesday schedule just for this week because Luke has other commitments.

In October we have not been meeting every week as we do in the warmer months. As the weather gets colder, we visit the hives less often (once a fortnight or once a month, depending on necessity). It’s because bees like to keep the interior of the hive at a toasty 27°C, and every time we open a hive, it brings the temperature down.

We had two hive visits this month (October 5 and 12). In addition, Luke and Dan (from the Sustainability Team) went up to the roof a couple of times for routine hive maintenance. In case you missed the hive visits, here’s a quick summary of what we did this month, much of which can be filed under preparing for winter:
  • To reduce the size of the hives and make it easier for bees to keep them heated in winter, we removed and stored some empty supers and frames.
  • The white hive had Varroa mites (a bee parasite), so we gave the hive some Varroa treatment. At the next visit we saw lots of dead Varroa, which is a good sign. Unfortunately it now seems like the cedar hive might have developed a Varroa problem as well.
  • We replaced the liquid food in all our hives with fondant (bee candy), an emergency winter ration.
  • We painted the roofs of the white and the yellow hives as protection against rain.
  • The roof of the yellow hive has some bad rot which we cut out and filled but we will need to replace it shortly.
roof-painting
Painting the hives (photo courtesy Jess)

Hopefully all these measures will make life a bit easier for the bees, and we will find them happy and healthy when we visit them again this week!

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LSE Bees

This is a blog to follow the bee hives at LSE.

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