Preparing Honeybees for Winter in Britain

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Andrew Tyzack is now preparing his bees for winter. The bees can store up to 20kg/50Ib of sugar syrup in the brood chamber. Now that the queen honeybee’s egg laying is much reduced, the empty brood cells provide plenty of storage room. The syrup is given to the bees with the use of a feeder, they collect and take the syrup down into the brood chamber and cap it with beeswax. During the cold winter months the bees cluster together and shiver their flight muscles to generate warmth. They consume the syrup to fuel this shivering.

Feeding Honeybees

Feeding honeybees with sugar syrup

Lastly a mouse guard is attached over the hive entrance. This prevents mice from entering the bee hive and constructing a nest alongside the bees. During the winter mice can eat their way through the stored syrup, beeswax combs and even the wintering bees.

Mouse Guard

Attaching a mouse guard to a British Modified National Bee Hive

The bees are then left alone until December, when they will be trickled with a dilute solution of oxalic acid. Which is a required procedure to reduce the numbers of Varroa Destructor Mites (Varroa jacobsoni), now endemic in Britain. Many scientists suspect Varroa as one of the causes of the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder.

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