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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

In the Bleak MidWinter

Yesterday when I woke up it was 17 degrees in Atlanta. This morning it was 19 degrees. By afternoon it was up to the upper 50s.
When the bees die in the summer, their bodies are removed by the mortician bees. In the winter cluster, the bees have to wait for warmer temps to move the bodies out of the hives.

Also in the winter, some of the older bees may fly out on the warmer temp times and then be too weak to return to the hive. These bees will add to the dead bees in front of the hive. The bee in the upper left of the bottom picture is barely able to move and will die out on the deck without returning to the hive.

Bees in winter - sort of bleak, huh? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's cold in Atlanta - are the bees warm? Only they know but supposedly they are clustered in a ball shaped group in the center of the brood box and are maintaining the cluster temperature at around 45 degrees at the outer edges and warmer in the center.
The bees are not keeping the entire hive warm, just their cluster. Occasionally when the days get above 55 I see them flying out of the hive.
The entrance reducer allows them to enter and leave through this small entrance. Here two bees are stepping all over each other as they leave. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 01, 2006

Winter hives and Linda's Bees

Linda's beehives in the late fall/early winter (it's Dec 1, 2006)

We've had warmer days so I wanted to go into the hives before the cold weather moves in tonight. It's about 60 degrees this morning, so I decided to inspect the hives. Destin had a lot of bees on top of the extra super that is above the inner cover. I looked through the super and found that the bees have moved more of the honey down into the hive (or consumed it). They seemed to be storing pollen there, which is also important for their lives. I wanted to move this extra super back below the inner cover.

I only saw one small hive beetle in Destin and there were no bodies in the vinegar trap, but I refilled the trap with new vinegar anyway and put the hive back together with the extra super below the inner cover.

In Bermuda the bees were busy and angry that I had opened their cover. I didn't use smoke today. When the bees are smoked, they engorge themselves with honey and it didn't make sense to me to encourage them to deplete their winter stores for my comfort. It wasn't too bad - they flew around my veil more than usual but didn't seem particularly attacking.

The vinegar trap in Bermuda contained about ten bodies. I poured them out on the deck rail - maybe birds will eat the bodies - and refilled the vinegar. I saw about 4 beetles in Bermuda that I squashed with my hive tool. I also saw about 2 on the inner cover. These are much lower numbers than before. Does the SHB hibernate for winter?

I inspected all the bees I saw to see if the Varroa mite had given them deformed wing virus, but I didn't see any unhealthy wings on any of the bees. So far, so good.

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