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Tips for preparing for Winter in Victoria, Australia

Hello all.
New beek here. I am from North-East Victoria. I recived my hive around 10 days ago. I am preparing to do my 2nd inspection tomorrow! I obviously got the Hive in early autumn, so it can be some cold days and some hot ones.

Being autumn in my location, there aren’t too many flowers about.
My bees had around 5ish of the 8 frames full, so they have still got a long way to build up. I have a feeder that I have yet to put on, as I just solved my ant issue by putting anti-ant legs on.

With two month left until Winter I just have a few questions for you guys:
(where it gets frosty/rainy)

-I have a top feeder, should I put it on now?
-Should I just wait to put my super on until spring?
-I haven’t seen too much pollen pants out the front, is this a good indication to put my feeder on?
-What else can I do to help my bees before winter?
-Is there any way to insulate the hive, i.e giving them a space heater and hot chocolate?

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My answers to your first three questions are, yes, yes, and yes :blush:

What else to do? Reduce the entrance to about 15cm or less, if you haven’t already, and consider a mouse guard.

You can insulate the hive if you really want to, but unless you have weeks of snowy weather, it probably isn’t needed. Many people use the rigid foam type of roof insulation to do this - just cut it to size and tape it around the hive. Anything from 2-5 cm thick is what I have seen used. The other useful tool can be a moisture quilt. You will probably have trouble finding one to buy in Aussie, but if you want to make one, there is a very good outline here:

I would not use a heater. Bees are better at regulating hive temperature without human intervention. As for the hot chocolate, save that for yourself and feel free to adulterate it with your favorite tipple to dull the pain of being without bee time for a few months! :rofl:

@Dawn_SD Thanks very much Dawn for this advise, I to was wondering when I should start feeding as I live in Canberra so will take on the advise that you have offered Tom:-)

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Thank you @Dawn_SD , I have installed the feeder

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I just have one more question if you don’t mind @Dawn_SD ,

So I did my second inspection, I have around 6ish frames full now. So would it be possible for the bees to grow too big in numbers before winter? As you suggested not to put the super on. Worried that they might swarm out in worst case scenario!

That would be very unusual at this time in the season. When you inspected, did you see drones, or capped drone larvae? If not, they are unlikely to swarm, because they can’t replace the queen.

If you did, you may want to consider adding a WSP or Ideal sized box for a a while. You can always remove it in a month or two once the population has shrunk and calmed down. :wink:

Hmmm I didn’t see too many drones and drone caps, so should be alright!