[ Update April 10, 2018: The winter of 2015 has nothing on 2018! ]
This has been an abnormal beekeeping year, to say the least. Weather always changes, but compared with last winter, it feels like we've never left fall!
It may seem counter-intuitive, but cold weather does not kill bees. (Mites, moisture and bad beekeeping kills bees for the most part.) And the warm weather we have been experiencing this winter can lead to starvation.
In Northeast Ohio this winter, beekeepers will need to do the following to ensure their hives remain strong and healthy until spring (just weeks away):
- Pay close attention to hive weights (start measuring if you've never started and create a baseline). Going in to fall, I ensure all my hives have a complete deep of honey on top to get them through the winter. With warm weather, the bees can burn through these stores prematurely.
- Feed your bees emergency sugar if they begin to get light on stores. Lately, I've gone the easy route and created sugar bricks that don't require cooking (see photo above). They're easy to make, don't require cooking, and the bees love them.Watch the following YouTube video that discusses the recipe I use and process for creating candy boards.