During the fall and winter, our main focus is on monitoring our bee’s health and food supply. We do this by tracking weather patterns, testing for pests and inspecting the apiary. We have stopped weekly hive inspections and have replace them with limited observations when weather permits.
The unusually warm and dry fall has set up a potential food shortage for our bees in late winter. Earlier this fall, we fed our bees to make up for the sparse fall flower bloom because of the dry weather and got our hives well set for fall. Because the weather has continued to be warmer than usual our bees have keep making brood and foraged for resources much more than they otherwise might have. Checking on our hives last week, we found that they have used up more of their food resources than we expected for this time of year and we are now concerned about them having enough food to make it through the winter. To address this, we made up candy boards this week and will place them in the coming days on the hives.
Candy boards are frames filled with a block of sugar. We set them on top of the hives below the outer cover. They provide needed carbohydrates the bees use to keep warm through the winter and adsorb excess moisture inside.