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Beekeeping In the Winter

Posted by Jennifer Smith on

Beekeeping is a rewarding hobby that can provide growers with DIY bee activities including delicious tasting honey for meals; beeswax candles; and even homemade mead. A beekeeper will tell you that beekeeping is a year-round job; but winter is especially critical for protecting beehives.

Honey bees tasks in the winter

In the winter, honeybee workers keep the queen warm by creating a surrounding cluster. The bees inside the cluster will feed on the honey - about 50 to 60 pounds of honey in the winter months - while the honeybee workers on the outside help to insulate the inside workers and queen. While it may be freezing temperatures on the outside, the bee cluster on the inside reaches temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit!  

Beekeepers tasks in winter

Beekeepers will need to clean beekeeping equipment in the winter in case of an emergency. They will need to check on beehives for holes and repairs. They will need to prepare for the winter months by stocking up on pollen for bees. (Pollen provides nutrients for bees in the winter; and will help keep them strong.) Ensure the beehives are protected from wind and keep deer, foxes, wolves and bears away from beehives. Remember, deer are year-round pests, and bears can come out of hibernation as early as February!

To prevent beehive damage, install a deer fence and/or electric fence around the perimeter of the area to help protect the queen.