One of the things being a beekeepers changes in you is having an acute sense of the weather and seasons. I suppose a gardener or farmer has this as well, but if it’s cold, and the environment isn’t right, my “livestock” will die. All at once. Nadda.
It’s getting into the 50’s at night, and I know it’s a signal of the fall. The ladies are getting a little cold at night, so they’re doing what they can to keep warm, as they know, more than I ever will, that winter is coming. I’ve already seen a slowdown in them returning with pollen. While they still return to the hive with sacks mostly full, they aren’t overflowing like they were only a month ago. It’s New England, and somewhere in the next 30 days, the last of the flowers will bloom and die, and so will their chance of gathering any more food.
I will be feeding them over the winter to help them survive. Mostly with sugar, but with some pollen mixed in. I would have liked to have set up a pollen trap this summer to get any extra pollen they would have dropped, but as a new beek, this winter will be the “store-bought” stuff. Next summer I will be more proactive.
This weekend I will be converting to a top entrance to help with the revenges of winter, so there be a few changes that I hope won’t disturb them anymore than need be. Details on that to follow.