My last preparations before winter: #8 hardware cloth lined with dryer-sheets and covered with cedar chips. The whole feeder cost roughly $6 to build and fill. However, I believe it will prove brilliant on all fronts. The dryer sheets should catch the beetles – the cedar should deter moths – and both should insulate the hive, while wicking away moister.
I also placed a Fat Bee Man corrugated sign trap in each hive, as well as a swiffer sheet and beetle buster trap on the top bars. That’s every trick in my bag.
After having the temperature dip into the 20’s I thought I might have waited too late to winterize my hives. Luckily, I was blessed by God with a nice warm 67 degree day. Noah was working so I asked my 13-year-old nephew, Zane to help me out. He was a huge help and I wouldn’t have gotten done without him.
We then cleaned up the apiary and removed all the unused equipment – a full truckload (which might be part of my pest problem).
Lastly, we began placing the feeders. The first hive I opened was dead and filled with wax moths. I felt sick. The second hive looked good but then the third hive was dead. I could have thrown up!
With no other choice, I carried on. In the end, I lost three hives.
“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” Zig Ziglar
Last month, when I extracted honey, I placed the empty supers back onto the hives in hopes that the bees would clean them and refill them. However, the flowers were all but gone and I think this gave the moths a window of opportunity. I think this was the cause of my losses.
I started the year with 7 hives. I made all successful splits and increased to 23 hives and 1 NUC – however, I lost a total of 6 hives in the past few months. Leaving me with 17 hives and 1 NUC. If God is willing and I don’t loss any hives over the winter, I should be able to divide 17 into 68 or possibly as many as 136 (that would be 4 successful exponential splits).
However, for now my bees are in God’s hands – I have done all I can do.
Hive Count: 17 Hives and 1 NUC