Keeping Bees Through the Winter...

With all of this snow and cold temperatures I have been concerned about our bees.  This is our third year keeping bees, and we have not been successful through the winter.  Our first year, we got a swarm very late in the season, and they were not well established when winter hit.  The second year, the hive was blown over in a horrible wind storm with 103 mile-per-hour winds.

This year, so far, so good.  We knocked on the side of the hive this morning and the bees buzzed back.  I am so hopeful.

I wanted to share what we did to improve the chances of survival for our hive.  People say that you don't need to do anything for them in the winter, but with the luck we have had, we decided it was better to be safe than sorry.  We put three bales of straw around the hive with a gap between the bales and the hive to promote air flow.  We get so much snow at the farm (we usually have at least 3-feet before the winter is over), we thought it would be better to create some kind of roof over the hive to keep the snow off and also protect from the high winds.  The hubby made a little roof out of 2x4's and plywood.  It is slanted back behind the hive.  The hive faces South, so it gets warmed by the sun and the bales insulate and keep it just a little extra toasty.  Some wrap their hives with tar paper, I was extensively warned that this can sweat the bees out.  It decreases air flow and the black color really heats up the hive.  It works for some people, we opted to create our own idea of shelter and so far, it has really worked.

The bees are on the far back fence of the farm, so we do have to shovel our way out there and clean off the entrance to the hive so they get fresh air.  This morning the shoveling was extra fun.  The snow is up to my thighs, and it was super heavy!  All that shoveling was worth it just to hear the buzz from the hive.  I am so hopeful that this hive will make it.  Cross your fingers, mine are crossed!!!  I can't wait to open up the hive in Spring and see my little honey makers alive and healthy!


  1. Fortunate bees.
    (warning, musical autoplay.)

  2. The bees don't die because of cold. You been good beekeeper but I can assure you, they don't need all this effort :)

  3. Wow...i see this is a 2013 post. So, how did they do. Make it through winter ? What are you doing now ? Where are you located ?


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