What do bees do all winter anyway? According to my elementary school nieces, here’s what goes down inside a hive full of girl bees waiting all winter for a sip of spring nectar…
In Ella’s words:
If I we’re a bee I would sleep all winter and I would decorate my house with flowers also I would decorate it with snowmen pictures in the summer I will collect pollin from flowers!
Winter Bees by Ella, age 6
According to Nina:
If I we’re a bee I would paint my house with gold and black paint my bed would be lime green and my job would be to pollinate I would do anything to become a bee for just one hour all I would like to do is to soar I just hope they have cherrys to eat if not I would eat honey bees are fassanating creatures.
Winter Bees by Nina, age 8
Sasha’s thoughts on bees:
Have you ever thought what it would be like to be a bee? I have and I think it would be awesome to be a bee for even 1 second! If I were a bee, in the winter, I would chatter with my friends all night as we snuggled up in our honeycomb, trying to stay warm. My friends and I would drink warm honey all day long. It would be HEAVEN for me! I would have a smokey fire in my room to keep me warm all winter. I would probably get loney, though. I would miss my parents and my sister bees. I would especially miss my baby brother bee, Luka!!! After the cold winter, I would get up and smell the fresh Spring air. I’d spread my wings, leap into the air, and gather pollen for the queen to make honey. PERFECT!!
Winter Bees by Sasha, age 8
Guard bees no match for Pepper Spray Cop
Wonder what time the pub opens tonight... there's a honey wheat on tap I really enjoy.
Lighten up, ma'am, what's a few dead bees when you've already lost your civil liberties?
Find more Pepper Spray Cop at:
Propolising the hive for winter
It’s quite simple really. My winterizing philosophy is a three-pronged approach; the holy trinity of hive survival, if you will, and it goes like this:
- Go into winter strong: If a hive is weak, I’ll combine it with another before November using the newspaper method. If I only have one hive, I’ll combine with another bee friend. If none of the above work, then I’ll feed sugar syrup for October and November. And I DEFINITELY overwinter with 3 deeps. See my earlier post for details on overwintering with 3 deep boxes.
- Reduce the entrance: Using one of those wooden entrance reducers, I’ll close up the front door a bit so that the girls can better defend themselves from opportunists.
- Allow for ventilation: I’m of the mind that the bees best regulate their hive themselves and so my job is to allow them this ability. In other words, I leave a crack in the cover that sits on top of the screened top board and otherwise don’t insulate or tape the hive. This enables the girls to add or remove propolis depending on how much ventilation they want throughout the winter. In Albuquerque, as our temperatures vary greatly from November to March, this gives the bees the chance to decide what they need at any given time.
And that’s it. No fancy heating pads or blankets over here, because I want to support bee genetics that don’t rely on human intervention to survive the winter. It’s a bit of tough love perhaps, but my hope (for the bees) is that this non-interventionist approach builds local bee genetics that are gentle with humans but tough when it comes to surviving mites and winter.
Good luck, girls! May the strongest hives survive.