In many places, there won’t be any forage available during winter, so it’s very important to ensure your colony has enough resources and to prepare your hive, especially if you live in a very cold climate. The steps you need to take will depend on local conditions.
It's a good idea to connect with local beekeepers to understand specific overwintering practices for your area. Or put your questions to our Community forum to engage with beekeepers around the world and get a range of advice.
Before winter, it’s important to do a brood inspection and count and to have a look at the queen’s laying pattern.
Towards the end of the summer, the colony will stop producing foraging bees, and will instead produce fat winter bees. These live longer than foragers, and their larger bodies help to generate heat and to insulate the brood and the queen throughout the winter months.
Watching your bees come and go can be one of the most rewarding parts of beekeeping! Can you notice the different activity levels compared to spring and summer?
What’s going on in my area?
Finding out what’s in bloom, and what’s going to be available for your bees during this time of year is essential. A great aspect of being a beekeeper is that you learn more about your local wildlife – and become more in tune with nature’s rhythms.
In some areas there will still be nectar available throughout the fall. You might even get some unique honey flavours you haven’t tasted before.
If you’re thinking of getting another hive next season, now is a good time to start thinking about what you need. Perhaps you’ll split your existing hive, or sign up to get a nuc or package from your local club or bee supplier.
Having more than one hive is a great way to learn more quickly, as you can compare and contrast what’s going on with different colonies.
With less time spent in the apiary in winter, you’ll have time to start thinking about what type of hive you’d like for next season and where to put it. You can even get it assembled and painted in plenty of time for next spring!
Using Flow's harvesting technology, Stella and John have added value by producing specialty sweet and red clover honey. The unique and local flavour of single-frame harvesting has expanded their market to people who look for honey like they do for wine and cheese—flavour and the story behind it.