Dealing With Winter Honeybee Withdrawal

| 1/3/2014 9:09:00 AM

It’s that time of year again. When the bustle of the holiday season dies down, I start to really miss going out and working in my beehives. Winter Hives

So, what to do when honeybee withdrawal sets in? Here is a sampling of a few ideas to occupy your time until spring arrives!

Winter Beekeeping Preparations

Bundle up and visit the hives in spite of the cold! I don’t open them up, but if I press one ear against the side of the hive, I can hear a steady hum that tells me the bees are doing fine in the cozy beehive. No hum? I listen on different sides – sometimes you can’t hear them if they are against the opposite wall. If I don’t hear a hum at all, I make a note to open that hive on a warmer day to see what is going on. If the hive has died, I do a “post-mortem” to try and figure out what went wrong. This can tell me if I need to address any problems prior to winter.

Start getting ready for spring. My last blog (Start Planning Now for Bees in the Spring) was all about how to get ready to start keeping bees in the spring. However, even if you are an experienced beekeeper, there is a lot of work that can be done now to get ready. Inventory equipment – decide what needs to be replaced, what you might need more of, what is in need of repair, etc.   Check over your records from last season. Is there anything you would like to change for the coming year? Anything new you want to try?

Try out some beehive related crafts. Making beeswax candles and ornaments is a lBeeswax Candlesot of fun, and not very hard. There are a wide variety of candle molds available to suit every taste – from tapers and pillars to trees, bears, and beehives. Here is a picture of a few types of candles I made, using different colors of beeswax. 

Homemade beauty products made from beeswax are another fun craft to try. These can range from fairly complicated to quite easy. I haven’t tried out soap making yet, although I would like to someday. But, with a fairly inexpensive kit, I made enough beeswax lip balm for my friends and family in just a few hours.

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