November in the Apiary
November signals the end of most of our work within the colonies of our bees. It’s a time of year when the weather starts to in most years deteriorate, especially at night when we see the fist frosty nights appearing. This is when your bees begin to start and cluster together within the brood box to retain a temp. Within the cluster of around 19d. C. All your colonies should now be treated against Varroa and all your hives fed with syrup so the overall weight of each hives stores is around the 55 lb. mark. If not already done now is the time to securely fit those mouse guards, or if your hive floors have a short swivel door entrances shut them down to a single bee space. This is achieved by placing a biro pen in the entrance and closing up the door onto it, ( a one bee space) . I also think it a very good idea to place a good insulating pad or carpet square on top of each crown board, as heat is lost if this isn’t done causing the bees to work harder at attain the ambient temp within. I take out all my Varroa test boards leaving to mesh floor open for air to circulate ensuring damp doesn’t build up in your hives as excessive damp kills bees. This doesn’t bother the bees at all . Then place a heavy stone on top of each hive lid to stop them being blown off by strong winter winds.
I do not recommend strapping the hives up in out apiary’s, only if your hives are in your garden. It makes them easier to steel if they’re strapped up, and remember there are hive thieves about especially in out apiary’s when they are not constantly attended. Always ensure your apiary or hives area is left clean and tidy. Don’t want old combs and frames laying around to encourage vermin. If your in an area beset with the dreaded woodpecker, then now is the time to wrap up your hives in a fine chicken mesh to keep them from destroying your hives and colonies over the winter months. Try to keep a gap of around 5/6 inches between the mesh cage and the woodwork when doing this. Then peg it down well leaving no gaps. Although the season is now vertically over still go to your out apiary’s on a regular basis to check if all is still ok. Take any used or unused boxes back home and store them away after first giving them a good clean.
November is a time for reflection, plan your intentions for the season ahead and ensure you gather all the equipment your going to need to carry out your plans. Jot it down in your records book so you can check the list over the coming winter months. Print off new sheets for a new 2019 seasons record book, at the same time look at the performances of your individual hives over this past season. Checking temperament of the bees, queens laying capacity, how much each hive brought in honey wise for you and if the bees are clean and house proud. All these things will help you decide next season on the best hive/s to breed from to improve your colonies next year. Again write it down as a reminder in your records book. Melt all old wax gathered up throughout the season to either exchange for new foundation or even have a go at making candles in the winter months with your recycled wax. For the beepers with one or two seasons now behind them in beekeeping. Consider taking one of the BKKA module exams , these start in Nov. Your examinations offices contact are on the web site. Have a go, or read up ready for next year. These do have a profound help in your beekeeping proficiency and skills. Have a go.
Enjoy your beekeeping down time