December in the Northwest Apiary

Things are still pretty quiet in the bee yard.  There isn’t a great deal to do this time of year for the hobbyist beekeeper.  For the commercial beekeeper, there is plenty of work to get done.  The move to California will be here before you know it.

At 3:03 pm PST on December 21, we will reach the winter solstice.   On this day we will experience the least amount of daylight compared to darkness.  After the 21st of December, the amount of daylight will increase.  Somehow our Queens know this and begin to lay just a few more eggs each day.  They know that spring is on the way.  That being said, spring will be here before you know it.  Now is a good time to do some planning.  Are you going to add to your apiary?  Replace dead outs?  Replace old comb? Now is the time to look through some of those bee equipment catalogs.  Some of the bee equipment suppliers are having sales now.  It’s always good to order your bees early rather than late.  This is a good time of the year to build and assemble bee equipment.

Continue to provide ventilation by venting the top board.  This should help control mold problems.  A little mold is nothing to worry about.  The bees will clean it up later in the spring.

Check on your hives after a windstorm.

If you haven’t already done so, move any dead outs from the apiary and put under shelter.  It’s best to clean all the equipment and then store it in a dry place.  Equipment left out will mold and possibly become a nesting box for mice, voles, or rats.

For those who need to move a hive a short distance on your property, now is the time.  Just handle them gently and move them where ever you want.  When the weather does warm up later on, the bees will come out and orient themselves.  After a long winter they won’t remember their old site.

Copyright 2014-Richard Farrier-All rights reserved