Metro Atlanta was privileged to have Kim Flottum speak to our club at our monthly meeting last week. He talked about overwintering bees and after a break, addressed the small hive beetle problem.
I always enjoy hearing Kim speak - he's conservative in his approach to beekeeping and I appreciate that.
Kim lives in Ohio and he was shocked to find out that in Atlanta we only need about 40 - 50 pounds of honey on a hive for it to have enough to survive the winter. Apparently in Ohio, he needs to leave a hive with 145 pounds of food for the winter.
Another interesting thing he said was that when it is cold outside, the bees in cluster need to have holes in the honeycomb to more easily travel across the frames to the honey source. I've noticed in foundationless beekeeping that the bees often leave space (holes) in the comb they draw - passageways, as it were.
The most important thing he said the whole night came in this slide:
If we have put bees in a box to live and we are "keeping" them, then it is our responsibility to do everything possible to keep them alive. Made me feel so much better about feeding my bees last fall and this fall to make sure they make it through the winter.