Thursday, September 5, 2013

If you are not trying to winter-over your honeybees. . .

So now comes the dreadful deed of shop-vacuuming your bees if you don't plan to winter-over.  I put a couple to a few gallons of water in my shop vacuum and take it out next to my hives early in the morning or later evening bec. that's the time when all the bees are at home.  I suck as many bees into the shop vacuum as possible and remove all the hive pieces from the location.  They will be stored for winter.  See the next post for winter storage strategy!  I estimate it takes about 45 min. to shop vacuum one colony.  When I'm finished, I take the lid off the vacuum and stir the honeybee smoothie with a stick to ensure all the bees are dead.  Then I dump them into my compost as they make excellent vermiculite!  WHY DO I KILL MY BEES?  Because I have seen many colonies suffer through 5-6 months of winter without being able to go to the bathroom (Rememer, they need +50* or warmer to fly in order to go poop)  They tend to be weak and sick and even dead anyway by spring.  The Interior of Alaska is a harsh place for honeybees in the winter months.  Some have had success, however. If you have questions about wintering over your bees, you can contact Steve Victors of Wildflower Honey or Steve Petersen of Toklat Apiaries.

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