With winter approaching (in some places it’s already here), the beekeeper has two jobs:
- Make sure the bees in your hives have plenty of food.
- Think about about what’s going to happen in your apiary in the spring and summer.
Neither of these jobs involves a lot of work at this point, but they shouldn’t be neglected. The main characteristic of good beekeepers is that they think ahead — one or two seasons ahead.
Now is the time think about your bees, the equipment you have and the general environment that will confront the bees when they start flying in the spring.
Will you need to order packages of bees or nucs to rebuild your apiary in the spring? That, of course, depends on how many of your hives make it through the winter. We don’t know what will happen in that regard at the moment, unless you have already experienced losses.
What we do know is that in Tennessee the winter losses for beekeepers have been about 30 percent during the past few winters. The smart thing then is to plan for that kind of loss and hope it doesn’t happen. Now is the time to get in touch with the folks who supply you with bees and see what their availability will be. Most of those people are starting a list now, and your name should be on it.
We’ll have more to say later about equipment and environment.
Right now, you should plan for some losses and think about how you will replenish your apiary.
Key words: bees, beehives, beekeeping, bee equipment, ordering bees, packages of bees, beehive nucs, winter losses for beehives