The snow may be deep and drifted, but come mid-March, it's time to investigate how the bees are faring in their hive. Caution is required, though. Opening the hive chills the bees so it's best done on a warm, sunny day. Some beekeepers are feeding their bees sugar syrup now to help them through winter's final weeks.
At our apiary, we have been busy building brood and honey frames which are essential to beekeeping activity in the summer.
Each box is typically filled with ten frames.
Honeybees need a structure to support the hexagonal honeycomb they build for eggs and larvae, as well as honey nectar. The bees use the frames we build for brood (larvae) or for nectar storage (honey).
Let's take a closer look.
Flat sheets of wire-reinforced beeswax foundation are placed in the assembled frames (left).
So it's frame, wax. repeat ... ten frames to a hive box. Over the season, each hive will need two, three or more hive boxes.
Foraging workers bring in nectar and pollen. The beekeeper replaces honey-filled frames with empty drawn frames, encouraging the bees to continue making honey.
A productive hive will fill many honey frames during the season. Ah, that golden bounty.
So now you know some of what beekeepers do in the winter, besides dream -- like their honeybees -- of fragrant blossoms to come.
Related post on There Blooms a Garden - Do bees hibernate?
Visit Poikiloblastic for more bee photos and beekeeping basics