Updated: Nov 22, 2020
The Cold weather is rolling in! As the nights get progressively colder the bees will begin to cut their brood production down. This is normal. A hive will not be able to maintain a large brood nest during cold weather. Also, because of the warm spells bees will consume greater amounts of honey than if it is consistently cold. Keep an eye on their stores, you don't want your bees to starve!
1. If you haven’t installed entrance reducers yet do so now to keep rodents out of the hives.
2. Remove any queen excluders and allow the queen free range. You do not want her to get trapped below the excluder during the cold months and freeze.
3. Use two deep boxes or a deep and medium super to overwinter. Don’t give your hive to much room or they will have trouble maintaining their temperature.
4. Place windbreaks at the base of the hive if you are using screened bottom boards. You do not need to remove the screened bottom boards.
5. Treat for mites if necessary. If you use a fumigating product, slide a pan or piece of plywood under the screen bottom board to seal off the screen during the treatment. Follow directions printed on the product package.
6. Check honey stores and make sure the bees have a minimum of 3 full frames of honey in the brood box. Try to check for adequate food supply at least once a month. Lift the back of the hive. If it feels light, feed 2:1 sugar syrup or high fructose corn syrup.
7. If a hive has any empty frames move them to the outside walls. When the temperature falls below 57 F, the bees will begin to cluster in the center of the hive to stay warm. Thus, the honey that is near the outside wall is hard for the bees to use. Move it next to the brood nest so they can eat it. It will also help provide a layer insulation.
8. Feed pollen patties if there isn't very much stored in the hive. This will help keep brood production going despite the dearth of pollen during this time of the year. Most pollen sources will be gone after the first freeze.