Winter Management

Winter Management

    After preparing the colonies in fall for wintering, protection should be provided to the colonies from winter by:
    • Reducing the hive entrance
    • Plugging all cracks and crevices in the hive
    • Protecting the colonies from direct chilly winds.
    Storage and protection of combs: Protect the spare combs from attack of wax moth by fumigating in hive stacks frequently till spring when these drawn combs will be needed by the colonies again.
    Wintering: In upper Himalayan region, bees experience severe winter from November to March and colonies are lost due to poor wintering. Loss of colonies in winter can be avoided if following four fundamental principles in beekeeping management are kept in mind:
    i. Every colony must have a young vigorous prolific queen of superior genetic stock and young worker bees.
    ii. Every colony must be properly protected from extreme climatic conditions through reduced entrance and proper packing.
    iii. Every colony must have adequate reserves of honey and pollen.
    iv. Every colony must be maintained in “disease free” condition.
    Honey bees use honey as source of energy for generating heat and to maintain hive temperature of 32-35oC near brood area. For wintering, if insulation to hive is provided, it will help in reduction of store consumption and saving energy of bees. The type of insulation depends upon the climatic zones.
    Winter packing of hive:
    • Only good colonies with young bees in large number and enough food stores should be packed
    • For packing colonies straw, sawdust, wood shavings, bean stalks or dry leaves, chopped rice or wheat straw can be used
    • Packing material should be dry since moisture will make it poor insulator
    • Packing can be given in the brood chamber beyond dummy board (Fig. 11.1 to 11.3), as well as between inner and top cover.




    Strong colonies with young bees and good food stores, with proper packing need no care during winter and are opened only in spring.

Last modified: Monday, 16 July 2012, 7:36 AM