Updated: Oct 13, 2021
Weather has shifted and the beekeepers are all going through their checklists......
Is my mite count low enough?
Do I have the right sizing of boxes for the amount of bees I have?
Are there enough stores for winter?
What will I do to help prevent moisture in our very wet climate?
Have I treated for Nosema?
Will I need to feed them in the winter and if I will feed them will I use candyboards or fondant?
Screened or solid bottom boards?
Will my winter treatment be Oxalic vapour or drizzle or will I treat at all?
Every year its the same poker game. We all lay the best hand we can make, but ultimately we cant anticipate Mother Natures cards.
This year I have decided to diversify my winter preparations. Currently, I have two colonies. Rico I have as a single brood box and PIckles will be my first overwinter with two boxes. I will play my cards differently for each and hope that it will pay off in the spring. My mite counts were low but have treated to help the slow repopulation of the bunny-like reproduction of the varroa mite.
One colony had Apivar and the other I did Formic Pro. My biggest losses have been due to mites and bears so I'm not risking those cards this year. I will be applying both with Super DFM (very easy to use, just a powder sprinkled on the top frames) but will help with their gut health and help synthesize B vitamins for their overall health. Also both will receive an Oxalic drizzle in a few months to help keep the mites at bay. (see my trend? Keep those mites LOW)
I am entering the winter without all my cards dealt, here begins the best bluff to Mother Nature. I will be feeding my bees as I didnt allow enough time for them to store all they needed. Yes a rookie mistake, but honestly even the most seasoned of bee keepers play the wrong hand sometimes. I will do candy board on one and fondant on the other in the quilt boxes.
The electric fence is buzzing and hubby is making a shelter to keep off the wet on the hive. I am sad to lock them all away again as its a long bee-less time when I wont be able to go in and greet them, assess them, and work to better their odds. I will look forward to those sunny days when the hives are basking in the warmth and all the girls are flying out hoping for a cleansing flight.
I've placed all the bets I can for today, and hopefully through the winter the perfect cards will present themselves. In the spring, when this particular poker hand is over, Mother Nature and I will place our final cards down knowing that another game is quickly to follow.
How have you planned your hands fellow beekeepers for this round?