Despite being one of the coldest winters on record in Albuquerque (20° below, anyone?), we had our best beekeeping winter yet. 3 out of our 5 hives survived and those that survived all shared a single characteristic: We left 3 deep boxes full of honey and pollen for the girls.
Commercial beeks would likely gasp at our profligacy — how wanton! how wasteful! Why not dose up the hives with chemicals and sugar water and get that honey on the market? Giddyup.
But those who’ve read the studies coming out of University of Minnesota for the past 20 years are probably nodding their heads already. In a 1988 study, researchers Sugden at al.,came to the following conclusion:
Highest winter survival occured in colonies wintered in three brood chambers. There were no significant differences found between [the various types of insulation studied.]
p. 844 in The Hive and The Honey Bee
Thusly our girls survived Albuquerque’s Coldmageddon and we’re hoping it hints at a honey-filled summer ahead.