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Inspections this time of year

Do weathered beekeepers still inspect their hives this time of year?
What's the latest you usually perform one before you bid the bees farewell till the spring?

Wintering Down

Wintering Down (preparing the hive for winter) is normally carried out about this time of the year (autumn). We will be discussing this in more detail at the next Club meeting (May) and plan to "winter down" the Club's hives at Chartwell at a field day in the next couple of weeks. 

Having said that there is no reason why you can't inspect your hives on any sunny day over winter (provided the temperature is not less than 15 degrees). If too cold to open the hive you can check for winter honey stores by 'hefting' one end of the bottom box to feel the weight of the hive. Hives must have about 10 frames of honey (full or part frames) close to the brood. Feed sugar syrup now if they don't have this amount of winter stores.

Thanks John. 

Thanks John. 

I've got a number of empty frames (no foundation) and was planning on making a candy frame (sugar, little water and vinegar and pack it into the frame) instead of feeding them syrup now. Good idea? Or rather feed syrup?

Sounds like a lot of work.

Sounds like a lot of work. Syrup is generally the best as it can be quickly and easily fed to the bees via frame feeder next to the brood or top feeder - no bee-suit required. A top feeder holds 9 litres and should be placed directly above the cluster. Use a piece of garden twine soaked in honey or syrup to dangle down the feeder chimney onto the top bars below and this will entice the bees up into the tray. Use a bee-saver over the chimney or spread plastic netting or bracken (pig fern) in the feeder tray to stop the bees drowning. If you are using a frame feeder you should also stuff this with netting or bracken to prevent drowning. 

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