Beekeeping is primarily an outdoor summer activity. But here in central Wisconsin winter holds sway for roughly 5 months of the year. What is an enthused beekeeper to do during this long dormant period?
1) Attend your local bee club meetings. The other local beekeepers can provide a lot of information to improve your beekeeping in the coming year.
2) Review the events of the previous year and identify things you can do differently to improve your outcome in the upcoming year.
3) Read about beekeeping. There are two beekeeping magazines; American Bee Journal and Bee Culture. In addition, there are numerous beekeeping books. NOTE: The ECWBA donated to the local WiNNEFOX library system about 30 different beekeeping books. These should all be available through your local library. See the RESOURCE section of this blog for a list of the titles.
4) Make a personal beekeeping plan for 2020.
5) Inspect equipment that is in storage. Conduct repairs as required. Replace old brood foundation that is more than 10 years old. Over time the brood cocoons built up inside the cell and the result is a smaller worker bee.
6) Assemble and paint new equipment if you will be expanding your apiary in 2020.
7) Consider building a nuc box or swarm box.
8) Build a supply of spare frames with new foundation.
9) Make up sugar patties for use as a winter emergency food supply for your hives.
1) Periodically monitor the status of your hives. Listening for the hum of the bees with a stethoscope will let you know if they are dead or alive.
2) Add emergency sugar patties to the top of hives to prevent starvation.