Snow FlakeIt has been a while since I have written an article for this blog.  I have been extremely busy lately with beekeeping, and non beekeeping obligations. But I am still here, still keeping bees, and really enjoying the winter weather.

Some of you may find it odd that I enjoy winter as a beekeeper.  To be honest, I haven’t always enjoyed it.  So, today I wanted to share how my attitude about winter has changed, why I enjoy it, and how I think it has increased the number of hives I get into spring.

I Used to Hate Winter 

As a new beekeeper, I had a strong dislike for the winter months. The biggest reason for my hatred had a lot to do with the fact that I associated winter with dead hives.  So, it was only natural for me to believe that winter was my number one enemy.

I hated winter and losing hives so much that I actually considered moving.  At that time, I would have gladly traded my cold winter climate for a warmer one if it meant getting more hives into spring.  Now that I have several years of beekeeping under my belt, my perspective has changed, and I am really glad I didn’t move.

I Might be Crazy… 

Some of you may think that I am crazy, and my younger self would kick me in the pants for even admitting it, but I now look forward to winter.  I really appreciate the break it gives me from my normal beekeeping duties, and I actually feel bad for the beekeepers in warmer climates who never get a chance to slow down.

Winter allows me to work on beekeeping tasks I don’t have time for in the summer.  I love woodworking, and one of the tasks I enjoy doing is building beekeeping equipment. Winter is the perfect time for making new hive bodies and swarm traps.

Less Worrying = Greater Survival Rate

There is no science behind me coming to this conclusion, but I have noticed I get more hives into spring when I stop worrying and leave the bees alone.

When I first started, I remember going out every few days and pressing my ear to the hive, tapping it and listening for buzzing.  On some of the warmer days I would even pop the lid and take a look inside, which is obviously not good for the bees.

Now, I just don’t worry.  In the last few years, I have tapped only a handful of hives, and now I never open them.  I have realized that there isn’t a lot I can do for them once winter hits.  For that reason, I spend more time getting the bees ready in fall, which results in less of me worrying about them during winter.

So if you live in a climate that gives you 4 seasons, enjoy those winter months.  Take time to catch up on your beekeeping duties. Repair your beekeeping equipment, and maybe even pick up a new beekeeping book.  Take advantage of your winter break.  Spend more time in fall getting your bees ready for winter, and stop worrying.  Winter is not your enemy.

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