Insulated for Winter

Hi,

I am Terry Burr – the owner/operator of the family run  “The Burrs and the Bees“.  We’ve been providing the people of Puslinch Township with award winning wild flower honey and beeswax candles since 1980.

Matthew Bulmer has asked me to post this blog and to say a few things about beekeeping, so I thought I would try to post some regular comments out here (with a few pictures) and show what is typically happening in a beekeeping operation, at the different times of the year.

It is now February and I am doing nothing with any of my bee yards.  The attached picture shows six hives all wrapped up and protected from the cold winter; under the wraps there is an inch of Styrofoam insulation on the top of each hive; but even more important is the insulation that is supplied by mother nature – the snow on the top and at the sides does even more to protect the bees than the styrofoam.   The hives will stay like this untouched until spring arrives.

In the meantime a beekeeper in February is not idle.  Now is the time that I am repairing equipment, assembling new equipment and painting any of that equipment that will be exposed to the outside.  I use white paint; but you may see some hives with many different pastel colours used on each super (a super is the box that holds the frames of brood or honey).  This year I only have about 5 supers to repair and about 20 frames to fix; but I also will make 11 more hive-top feeders, 7 more large supers and 15 more small supers, and also assemble frames to fill those later 22 supers – an ambitious winter, but last year was such a good year and every piece of equipment was put into use – need to be sure I don’t run out this year.

That’s all for now but if you have any specific questions or topics you want me to cover, go look at my web site  www.theburrsandthebees.ca since it might be covered there and/or send me an e-mail at burrsandbees@gmail.com

Terry

March 23

Not much has changed from Feb to March, I am still painting and assembling new equipment because today we went back to winter; but last week I got a jump on some spring activities and inspected the hives at two of my yards and in the warm spring weather was able to open 16 of my hives.   That first inspection is so important and I am elated to find that 15 of those hives are alive and well.  I also took the opportunity in that warm weather to add the hive top feeders and put some feed (sugar and water)  with medications for the bees; but then quickly put the insulation and hive-wraps back on top of the new feeders.  This feed will tie the bees over until they can start collecting real nectar as soon as the spring flowers start blooming.