With the increasing rain and colder temperatures leading up to winter, there are a few things we can do, as beekeepers, to make sure our bees survive the winter and hit the ground running in spring.
By ensuring our hives have ample food supplies in the form of pollen and honey, we avoid feeding bees sugar supplements. This way our bees stay nutritionally balanced by only eating their own honey. Sugar replacers lack the nutrients and vitamins naturally present in honey.
In the cold, bee colonies cluster around their queen and larvae to stay warm, maintaining an internal hive temperature of around 33°C. To help our bees conserve their energy and food stores over winter, we condense the amount of space available in our hives. By keeping our bees closely packed together, we can help our bees by preventing excess heat loss.
Bees have also their own unique survival mechanisms to prepare for winter. As winter nears and less flowering plants are available as sources of nectar and pollen, drones (male bees) become a burden on the hive's resources. Worker bees evict drones from the hive, leaving them to starve outside in the cold. Drones are raised again in spring, once pollen and nectar from flowering plants become readily available.