November is here, and the weather has gotten colder. Depending on the region you live in, you might have already gotten your first snowfall back in October, and that's only the beginning. With beekeeping in
November, your bees will start to go broodless, and start to cluster together. When the warmer days arise, the beehives will come alive and they will do all their cleaning, and have their disinfectant flight. When beekeeping you will not be expected to do so much. All you need to do is make sure they have food storage, entrance is reduced, and no mice/pests are in the hive.
BEGINNERS: For those starting out in beekeeping, this is a time of education and preparation. Learn all you can by connecting with local beekeeping clubs and associations as well as checking state and local laws in your area.
ESTABLISHED HIVES: During November, there is much less work for bees and beekeepers. Adapt to the bees needs and schedule, rather than have the bees adapt to yours. This is a great time to anticipate your needs for the coming season. Attend to repair or replace any items (if needed).
While many beekeepers choose a hands off approach through November, if you check and notice honey stores are low, you can supplement with emergency feed. Only check the hive if outside temperatures are above 55°F. Liquid feed or sugar water can freeze in cold temperatures. If feeding through winter, you will need to continue through spring until there’s nectar and pollen flows for the bees to find feed naturally.
Outside temperatures can drop to -40°F, however, your bees will gather into a tight ball to maintain an inner hive temperature of 92-93°F required for their survival.
Many bees will naturally die during the winter months and these bees will be moved out front of the hive. Ensure snow or ice isn’t blocking the entrance to allow for proper ventilation and bees can continue to work.
Estimated time (1 hour):
- Order bees and other equipment and supplies
- As needed, check the hive entrance for blockage
- Check the hive food stores, if it's feared to be low going into winter
- Check for mice, and pest
- Clean your smoker and repair or replace any damaged hive components
- Attend local bee club and association meetings or workshops
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