Monday, November 23, 2015

2015-11-21: Winter Is Here

I guess there is no avoiding it now.......Winter is here.  Our first real snow that stuck started today and hasn't stopped yet.  Not sure if the snow will last but there is no denying that we are sliding into the cold.  Some of the things I wanted to do to the hives before Winter set in for good was to add mouse guards, windbreaks, candy boards and/or ventilation boards. 

Cold hives!
After searching around on the interwebs and seeing many different schemes for windbreaks, I decided on using burlap.  It was cheap and could be used for other purposes once Winter was over.  I picked up two rolls, hammered some posts into the ground and rolled out the burlap using zip ties to attach it to the posts.  

Wind break added
The idea isn't to surround the hives, but to address the prevailing wind directions.  Typically this is wind from the North and West so I built it in those two directions.  With my cutout hive and my combined nuc hive being short, the three foot tall roll seemed adequate.  But for the two established hives with two deep boxes and one honey super on, it seemed too short.  I think I'm going to pick up a few taller stakes and two more rolls of burlap to complete the job.

My next task was to put on some mouse guards.  I took some #4 hardware cloth, bent it into an L shape and stapled them across the entrance to each of the hives.

Cut out hive with mouse guard added

White and Green hives with mouse guards added

Combined nuc hives with mouse guard added
All in all I think it turned out well, didn't take too long and was inexpensive.  I sure hope it helps the bees get through the next four months of Winter!

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading!