Each climate has its peculiarities regarding the wintering of hives. Here in Quebec, our bees must adapt and we must give them a helping hand. Here are some important points to remember at the end of summer.
- Since bees cannot empty their gut during cold winter days, whatever they eat will be stored in their gut until the day the outside temperature allows them to empty. For this reason, it is important that the food given in September (their reserves for the winter) be as light as possible. Syrup made from sugar cane is therefore more suitable than honey, because honey, especially at the end of the season, is rich in protein.
A diet too rich in protein consumed during the winter stays in the intestine too long and can promote bee diarrhea.
- You can therefore take all the honey that is at the top of your brood chamber, and put a feeder that you will fill with about 20 liters (poured in 2 times) of autumn syrup (ratio 2 sugar: 1 water).
- If you have an attic that has a slot for ventilation of the hive, consider putting the attic upside down, that is, with the slot open towards the roof. This way you will limit the looting of wasps and other hives around.
- Feeding beehives should be done before the typical fall temperature drops. When the syrup becomes cold, the bees consume little or nothing. If you wait too long and the cold weather surprises you, your bees will go hungry during the winter because they will not have stored enough reserves. Back home, in southern Quebec, we do it in the first 2 weeks of September.
- Immediately after removing the honey supers, it’s time to put on the anti-varroa treatment. We take advantage of the moment of feeding to insert the strips of Apivar, Apistan, thymol or formic acid. Do not neglect this treatment, because too much infestation of varroa in the hive could be fatal.
- Take a short visit 3 days after you put the syrup to see if your hive is taking the food well. You might be surprised at how hungry your bees were!