As with many beekeepers my ears perk up when the discussion turns to how to help overwinter our bees. Living in Central, IL with the somewhat erratic winters we have had lately the task tends to be even more of a challenge. This year for instance we had actual temperatures of -18 degrees F and then a couple of weeks later it was 50+ degrees F. These temperature swings confuse us as humans let alone the “gals” in the hives.
Preparing the hives for winter can sometimes “try men’s souls.” From making sure the honey stores are sufficient, to proper ventilation of the hive top so as to prevent condensation inside are just a couple of the many tasks to consider and implement. That is assuming that you treated for that nemesis Varroa, prior to your final winter hive prep.
So when I got a warm enough day at the end of January to do a quick peek into my hive and I see busy bees working on the sugar patties I provided them to supplement their stores and observe the cleansing flights coming and going it is reason to rejoice and be encouraged! As a beekeeper I truly care about my bees and want to do all I can to help them overwinter into the warm and flower filled spring and summer. So when I can take a photo like the one with this post I am encouraged! I hope, when it is warm enough, you too are rejoicing in what you see when you do the occasional winter check up. Stay at it!