Winter Hive Maintenance

We had quite a cold snap last week, including a dusting of snow. For those of you in the Midwest or the Northeast, this isn't exactly news. But here in the Pacific Northwest, this is the most exciting thing to happen, ever. Schools were closed, everyone forgot how to drive, and some people wouldn't even leave their houses. Ok, that was just me. But a few days later we warmed up, and my husband had the sense to remind me that warm days are the best days to check in on the bees. As usual, his timing was perfect, as this video demonstrates.

In the video I make mention of a "box of wood chips". What am I talking about? These are boxes designed to protect the bees during cold weather. The bees themselves generate a lot of heat trying to keep themselves, and their queen, warm. When that heat rises it hit the cold lid of the hive and condenses. That cold water can then rain down on top of the cluster of bees. That cold "rain" can kill a colony of bees. We have our own way of building these condensation collectors, but the idea was based on a blog post from Rusty at Honey Bee Suite. Her page is full of great information, and I fully support her natural approach to beekeeping. Check her out!