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Winter's Final Push
break

Spring may be getting closer, but winter is still trying to toy with our emotions.  Several locations are experiencing large temperature fluctuations that, while annoying, can be used to our advantage. No matter what your temperature is, here are a few tricks to help you maintain your hive throughout the rest of the winter.

Keep your Hive Protected from the cold: Nothing can be more aggressive against your hive than a nice cold breeze. The honey bees, while in their cluster, can only maintain a stable temperature around the cluster. The larger the physical hive the more cold air that can penetrate and disrupt the temperature.

If you live in an area that may have very windy days, it would be beneficial to build a wind break around your hive. Hive wraps are available to help stabilize the hive internal temperatures. Whatever you use, you will want to make sure that the hive entrance is not completely obstructed. Entrance reducers are a great protection but you will want to provide space for the bees to be able to leave the hive when temperatures get warm enough.

Take advantage of the warmer days: On occasion, there can be a handful of days where temperatures warm up a little. It is on days like these, when daytime temperatures spend plenty of time at 55 degrees or higher, that are perfect for quick checks on your hives. Your colonies spend so much time fending for themselves that they may easily go through all of the available resources stored. A quick peek into the hive can help you discover if the bees still have available resources or if you may need to provide an emergency feed of fondant or a candy board.  A good sign that it is warm enough is if you start to see activity at the entrance to your hive. When it is warm enough, bees will take turns leaving the hive for cleansing flights.

Still too cold to open your hive? You can check on your hive by gently tapping on the side of the hive and listen for activity. You won't be able to do much else until it warms up but just by listening for signs of activity can help you know what you might find when you do inspect.

Feed, feed, and feed: I touched on this in the previous section but making sure your hive has plenty of food during the winter is of vital importance. It is the one thing that is desperately needed during the winter. Emergency feed such as fondant, pollen patties, or candy boards with additional supplements are great ways to continue to provide nourishment to your bees if they are in need. Each is easily digestible and, since it is in a solid state, the bees can feed off it while easily staying in their cluster.