The bees are all wrapped up.
It has been an interesting year of beekeeping. This year I started with two strong nucleus colonies and these hives are going into the winter stronger than any others that I have tried to overwinter before.
In my experiences I have learned that the odds are not exactly stacked in your favor attempting to keep bees in Northern Minnesota. It is now October 11 and already we have winter coats, boots, mittens and hats in use and ready for action in our crowded entryway. We have had several days of morning frost and even some snow flurries. So closing up the hives for the winter has been on my to-do list.
Right now I have about 9 full frames of honey in the second deep super in each hive. (The bottom super is the brood chamber, where the queen lays eggs.) This year I did not harvest any honey. I am just hoping that these hives make it through the winter. I am trying something a little different to insulate the hives from our harsh winter weather. I purchased a Bee Cozy winter wrap for each hive. They will offer more protection and insulation than the tar paper that I have been putting on in years past. They pretty much just slip on over two supers. I put them on the hives earlier in the week. I also changed the orientation of the entrance reducer and drilled a second winter entrance. In the whole process I was stung once, which was not too bad considering how much I was disturbing the bees on a chilly afternoon.
Today I made a candy board for each of the hives as a winter supplementary food source if the bees need it. My plan now is to leave them alone, and if they don't make it through cold snap(s) of -40 below zero in December or January, I just might harvest the honey in the winter. Time will tell, but for now they are all wrapped up.
With this hobby of beekeeping I have learned so much, and I still have so much to learn!