The web browser you are using is out of date and no longer supported by this site. For the best TractorSupply.com experience, please consider updating your browser to the latest version.
Buy Online Pick Up in Store Now available - Tractor Supply Co.
Navigate to Shopping Cart
Cart Item Count
 
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Make My Store

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?

    CONFIRM CLEAR INFO?

    Click "YES" to clear all the customer data, cart contents and start new shopping session.

    Your current shopping session will get automatically reset in seconds.
    If you are still active user then please click "NO"

    Changing your store affects your localized pricing. This includes the price of items you already have in your shopping cart. Are you sure you want to change your store?

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?


    • To Shop Online
    • To Check In-Store Availability

    click here
    We do not share this information with anyone. For details,please view our Privacy Policy
    X

    Please enable your microphone.

    X

    We Are Listening...

    Say something like...

    "Show me 4health dog food..."

    You will be taken automatically
    to your search results.

    X

    Your speech was not recognized

    Click the microphone in the search bar to try again, or start typing your search term.

    X

    We are searching now

    Your search results
    will display momentarily...


    Winter Beekeeping

    Most experts will tell you that the beekeeping year begins in the fall. Summer is over. Fall is cooling down and the bees are moving around less. Now is the time to begin preparation for your winter beekeeping.

    Most experts will tell you that the beekeeping year begins in the fall. Summer is over. Fall is cooling down and the bees are moving around less. Now is the time to begin preparation for your winter beekeeping.

    Inspect your hives when the weather starts to cool and make sure that your bees have enough honey stored to make it through the winter. Make sure you do this before the temperature drops below 65°F. They will need at least 60-70 lbs. for a medium-sized hive. More is definitely better. Lift the hive to get an estimate of the weight. Be sure you can see the queen and check for brood. Even if there isn't much brood, there should still be some. Make sure that the food is stored at the sides and above the broodnest.

    PREPARING THE BEES

    The latter half of September is a good time to medicate the hive with protection against verroa mites, nosema, tracheal mites, and american foulbrood. You can apply the medication as soon as you remove your last batch of honey in late summer. Use miticide strips for verroa mites, fumagillin for nosema, grease patties for tracheal mites, and antibiotics for american foulbrood.

    If you discover during the inspection that honey levels are insufficient to keep the hive through the winter, you should supplement their feed with extra honey or syrup. Again, it is a good idea to research what type of feeding is best for your area. Colder climates require a different approach than warmer climates, since bees won't feed on syrup that is colder than 50°F. Some places recommend 1:1 sugar syrup. Some recommend 2:1. Some recommend sugar syrup be as high as 5:3. One expert said he uses dry sugar. Whatever route you take, be sure not to overfeed the hive. There needs to be enough space for clustering, and too much syrup will raise the humidity level too high inside the hive once the temperature drops. Remove the queen excluder so that she can move up as the cluster moves up during the winter.

    PREPARING THE HIVE

    Some places recommend wrapping the hive with tarpaper, which allows the hive to breathe, but keeps it warm. Other places recommend against this. Find a beekeeping club in your area, and see what the community consensus is before you make this decision. It depends on how much humidity is prevalent in your area of the country. If you wrap it and humidity is high, condensation will collect on the inside top of the hive and drip cold moisture on the bees during the time when they most need to conserve their warmth. (Bees generate warmth by continually vibrating their wings. The center of the cluster is between 90° and 93°F and needs to stay up there for the hive to survive.)

    You can insulate just the top to get around the condensation issue. Good ventilation also will help reduce the problem, as long as you have an effective wind break around the hives. Do replace the screened bottom board with a solid bottom, and make sure that the hive is leveled so that the bottom floor is gently sloped towards the entrance to prevent water accumulation in the rear of the hive.

    Fall is the best time to clean and store your equipment, order any new equipment for the spring, and order new bees, since many suppliers run out in the spring due to high demand. If you have a failing queen, replace her now to ensure hive survival through the winter.

    WINTERING

    Watch for predators during the winter. Wasps, badgers, foxes, mice, and woodpeckers are all interested in your bees and their honey as a source of winter food. Putting straps around the hive can help so that the larger predators will not be able to knock off the top. Place an entrance reducer at the front of the hive and put mouse guards in place to keep the furry critters out. Make sure that the entrance is small and use wasp traps to help the bees defend against these very aggressive predators that are not just after the honey, but also will eat the bees.

    Keep an eye on the hive entrance and brush away dead bees and any obstruction (like snow) that keeps the air from circulating. Leave the hive completely alone during the coldest part of the winter. In late winter, though, on a mild day (with no wind and some obvious bee movement), take a quick peek inside. You should be able to see the cluster in the upper deep and tell if there is enough honey to finish out the winter. If you don't see any sealed honey in the top frames, you can begin emergency feeding; however, once you start you cannot stop until bees are bringing in their own pollen and nectar.

    Honey bees are marvelous creatures. The way they pollinate plants is a fantastic help to the environment, and honey is simply a great side benefit. Taking care of your bees properly will help your hives last a long time.