January 2014

Make sure there are enough stores in the hive to last the winter. Lift the back of the hive to see how heavy it is. If it is light, ideally it would be good if you could drop a frame of honey in if you have any left over. If no honey is available you have to dry feed with dry sugar.

All you need is 2 sticks and a piece of plywood (½ inch bigger all the way around than the hole) to go over the hole in the inner cover. The 2 sticks keep the plywood up over the hole so the bees can still come up and eat the sugar around it. This stops the sugar from running into the hole onto the frames.

You have to educate the bees to eat the sugar by wetting the sugar around the hole. If you don’t wet it they will pack the sugar outside and dump it.

To hold the sugar, you can use a 3 inch spacer, a dadant box, or a deep box. Place the box on top of the inner cover. Put 1 – 2 inches of sugar in the box. Cover with alternating layers of newspaper. The newspaper draws the moisture out of the hive. When you go to check it, if the paper is damp, replace the paper layer. When you touch the newspaper it should feel warm if it is working right. While taking the moisture out of the hive it also helps to warm the hive.

Periodically check the newspaper and the sugar throughout the winter season when the conditions are right.