Preparing Honeybee Colonies
for the Period of Dormancy and Cold Weather Ahead
First of all, and has been mentioned, colonies
should be checked for the presence of mites and to what extent
of the count involved.
Any place throughout the Midwest beekeepers can
ill afford extreme losses due to lack of attention of management
in helping the bee colonies to survive. The cost of replacing
bees today is too high to let a few aid to wintering go undone.
During the months of August and September colonies
should be inspected to make sure there is adequate brood to be
hatching later to provide a good healthy colony with sufficient
bees for wintering. At the same time making sure that the colonies
are free of disease.
Soon after the surplus honey is removed the lower
entrance should be reduced to the normal 3/8ths X 1” opening.
Next, check each and every colony for weight. Located here in
Central Iowa we are at 42o latitude and we found it best if colonies
in two standard brood chambers weigh 115 to 120 pounds with out
the outside cover. This will assure enough stores to last until
weather permits colony management in April. A word of caution,
there are occasions when bees store excessive amounts of pollen
and full combs of pollen will provide the weight but may result
in a shortage of honey that was intended. If in Minnesota more
wight might be preferred. If further south lesser amounts may
Next, insert a middle entrance between the two
brood chambers simply by placing a 1” wide cedar shingle
on each side of the lower chamber with the thick end forward.
Use two pieces of wood lathe 7 ½ “ long in front
leaving approximately 1” X 3/8” opening. This is preferred
over drilling a hole in either chamber as the wind does not seem
to penetrate this type of opening.
Prior to installing the middle entrance make
sure that there are two or three combs of open cells in the upper
brood chamber. They can be brood or open cells partly filled with
honey. This is where the colony will collect and cluster during
cold days. In spite of what is always assumed bees do not prefer
to cluster on full combs of honey. These open brood combs will
also be available for the first brood which may occur during late
February and March, getting the colonies off to a good start of
young bees in the Spring.
Now the final touches: Cover the hole in the
innercover with screen or a piece of thin metal so the bees cannot
get to the Styrofoam that is then placed within the rim o f the
innercover. Either ¾” or 1” Styrofoam. If a
number of colonies are to be winterized place two colonies on
H frames or on 2 X 4’s and wrap them together. This saves
From 15 pound, black asphalt paper 36”
wide, cut a piece 112” long. Cut that in half the long way
which gives you two pieces or a wrap around for four colonies.
Six inches from one end cut a slit 2” from the bottom and
another slit 33” from the first. This will provide a lap
in front so the paper covers the entire bottom board. Wrap around
the two hives and fasten where the paper laps over near the front
side of the hive with a 1’ lathe using one No. 4 nail. Now
all that is needed is a cover. Cut another piece of the paper
48” long and 36” wide. Fold the corner of the cover
paper as covering any box. This gives an allowance of four pieces
of lathe 1’ long and two pieces 16” long to be placed
on each end of the pair of colonies held in place by one No. 4
nail in each lathe.
Having accomplished all this your work with your
colonies is over until next year com April 2006.
To begin with you will likely find colonies that
will not have sufficient stores for the entire time. If a number
of colonies are involved simply take combs of honey from the extremely
light ones and bring more colonies that are near the weight to
the proper weight and eliminate the lighter ones. You will benefit
by not having to worry about feeding in the cool weather of Fall
or Spring. Bees do better on honey.
Using this method will reduce colony losses dramatically.
Submitted by Glen L. Stanley
10 Frame Bottom Boards (100)
2 Dadant Bee Blowers
1 Dadant Syrup Pump
Serveral Hundered (Good) Wintering Cartons.
100 Inner Covers
1091 580th St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588
|For Sale: Corn syrup for fall feeding.
By the bucket or by the barrel.
Call for pricing.
Contact Phil Ebert at
641-527-2639 or e-mail email@example.com