The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Early hive prep for winter

Double deep hiveBoth the bees and I are starting to plan ahead to overwinter our three hives.  After harvesting honey this summer, I put all of the empty supers back on the hives to make it easy for the bees to clean out the precious juices left behind.  Many of those frames are now empty, so I consolidated all of the frames of honey and dehydrating nectar into one super per hive, removing the other supers for winter storage.

Each hive now sports two deep brood boxes and one super, a clue to my indecision.  Last winter, I overwintered each hive with one full super of honey atop a single brood box partly full of honey and pollen --- this is what our neighbors do.  But I've had good luck with a double brood box this spring and summer and have read that continuing the double deep through the winter helps bees find their honey during cold weather.  (Apparently, bees are British and "mind the gap.")  Anyone have thoughts on whether I Ragweedshould stick to double brood boxes or go back to one brood box and one super for the winter?

The bees aren't all that interested in my experimentation.  Instead, they're harvesting ragweed pollen as fast as they can so that the first spring hatchlings will have a high protein diet.  I like to tell visitors to the farm that the ten foot tall ragweed plants around our yard were intentionally left behind --- of course they didn't just spring up where we forgot to mow!  Good thing neither of us is prone to allergies.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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