winterizeing beehives : LUSENET : A Village Commons : One Thread

ok, taking a survey,, what do you do to winterize your hives,, and what part of the country do you live, with or without snow? Thanks,, Cananda residance please reply also. Im in michigan, if that helps

-- stan (, September 28, 2001


Stan, if you're going to take a poll, you should put in your input as the first in the poll so we can hear your wisdom as well!! I dry mint leaves and put them in an empty super on top of the hive to absorb excess humidity. I use mint leaves since menthol is a mitacide (and because it's easy to come by, plentiful, and I might as well!). I also put a vegetable shortening/sugar patty in that empty super. Once it gets cold, I will put a totally crystallized jar of honey in there as supplemental food on warm days. I have slatted racks under my hives for ventilation and insulation, and I have a front entrance in the empty super only (not the 2 hive bodies). I reduce my entrance to the smallest space (about and inch) and tack hardware cloth over it so mice don't get in (I had a problem with that one winter and nearly lost a weak hive). I don't put any type of insulation on the hives, but I do keep the whole front of the hive dug out all winter. Yes, I actually dig a path to my beehives all winter and dig out the fronts of the hives every time it snows. By the middle of last winter, all you could see was the rocks on top and the spot where they were dug out in the front was a hole down into the snow. I think it aids in ventilation but I think the snow acts as insulation so I leave it around 3 sides. Snow-free fronts also allow for easier cleansing flights during warm spells. (That is, if we have any warm spells!) The state apiarist recommends insulating hives that are any farther north than where I am (near Portland). I also usually treat 3 times with powdered sugar mixed with tetracycline dusted on the hive to prevent foulbrood. I usually treat for nosema with Fumadil in the fall, but I didn't realize in time that mine was expired so I didn't do so this year. I also usually treat for varroa mites, but I tested and didn't need to this year. Oh, I swap the hivebodies when I pull the honey in the last week of August or first of September. I also flip over the inner cover to the side that allows the hive more space.

-- Sheryl in ME (, September 30, 2001.

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