prepping for bees in 2020

As I did last winter, I’m eagerly and nervously keeping an eye on our hive as the winter goes on.

This year’s hive after our first big snowstorm

We were lucky last year; our first year hive made it through the bitterly cold and very snowy winter unscathed! I was so proud of our little ladies. They were weak going into winter but somehow they pulled through!

As you know, we then had trouble over the summer as the colony became queenless. Though we got a new one and the hive was stronger going into winter this year, I haven’t been able to get the same kind of pulse in them as I did last year.

As the colony was weak last fall, we only had two deep boxes on. This meant that the bees had a smaller space in which to cluster, so I could actually press my ear against the hole in the top box and hear them buzzing.

This year, with the larger population, we have three boxes. I can’t hear them buzzing this year. I’m telling myself it’s because they have more room and are likely clustered down in the second (or perhaps even first) box, but I’m scared!

Checking on the ladies late last spring

Regardless of what happens to the ladies this year, we’re going to keep going! I just got off the phone with our local bee supplier and ordered two three-pound packages of Saskatraz bees. This is a newer variety that has been bred in Canada to be disease- and mite-resistant, to over-winter well, and be good honey producers. In mid-April this year, we’ll be installing them in two new hives alongside our Carniolans (provided they make it through the winter).

I’m looking forward to spending some time at our local stores in the coming months, picking up more supplies and prepping for our latest hives.

I’ll post more another time about why we chose Saskatraz as well as why we’re getting two more hives rather than just one.

One of my favorite pictures from a hive inspection last year

Wish us luck as we go into 2020, and stay tuned for updates!

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