Packing down a flow hive (or not) for winter, Porongurups, Western Australia

Hi all

I think it depends on how cold your winter is. If it snows, then I would reduce the space the bees have to manage. Where I live, we don’t have snow, but it gets down to freezing (0 centigrade).

I have one brood box and one honey super. So what I do is:

  1. place a winter jacket of wood painted black on all sides. The entrance side reduces the entrance by half, keeping the outer ends open for the bees, the central part is blocked as that is where the brood is. (see pic). I paint the other side of the wood white and reverse it as a summer jacket.

  2. put a thick plastic type mat over the frames in the brood box. In my case it’s a trimmed carpet square, carpet side up against the queen excluder, or it could be a piece of wood. This helps keep the heat in the brood area. Bees can get up and down to the honey super around all four sides only. (see pic smooth side of carpet square)

  3. last three weeks of autumn/fall I feed them a tonic, each week 750ml equal parts water and white sugar and a clove of crushed garlic strained. This helps prevent disease. I hope in future to get some of Paul Stamets’ Mycohoney:, once it is available (see pic of internal feeder with stick so bees don’t drown).

I leant to do all this from my bee mentor, a local beekeeper. Though his winter jacket does not reduce the entry.

best wishes

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