It 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.