By Howland Blackiston

Part of Beekeeping For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The beekeeping cycle slows in the autumn. To prepare your bee colony for the cold winter weather in your area, do these things in your autumn beehive inspection:

  • Smoke the hive at the entrance and under the cover as usual.

  • Open the hive for inspection.

  • Confirm that you have a queen. Either find her, or look for eggs. If you are 100% certain you have no queen, consider ordering a new queen from your bee supplier.

  • Does the colony have enough honey for its use during the winter? Bees in cold northern states need eight to ten frames of capped honey (less for bees in warm southern states).

  • Feed bees syrup.

  • Provide adequate ventilation.
  • Install a metal mouse guard at the hive’s entrance.

  • Wrap hive in black tarpaper (if you are a cold climate).

  • Clean, repair and store surplus equipment.

  • If you plan to store any comb that had brood reared in it, fumigate the comb with paradichlorobenzene (PDB) crystals or place the combs in the deep freeze to kill wax moths before putting them in storage.