First Winter, Georgia, zone 7b

You have just gotten your bees, either in the mail or you have gone and picked them up in person. Now what do you do? Covers from installation in your hive until the end of the first winter and the first blooms of spring.
PropolisTarp
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:53 pm
Location: Atlanta

First Winter, Georgia, zone 7b

Postby PropolisTarp » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:49 pm

We had a freaky snowstorm in Georgia two weekends ago, and I received about 10 inches of snow. My bees were fine (I saw them flying after the fact and it was relieving), and this event is a real hallmark for the start of winter.

Beekeepers in Georgia generally "do nothing" to their hives for winter prep.

My main goal is to keep my colonies fed. My two older hives have decent stores of "honey", but the colony I caught from a swarm in June (during the summer dearth) has no stores, and I have fed it constantly.

One thing I noticed is that over the last two weeks, all three of my hives seemed to eat significantly less syrup. I don't know what this means.

Should I do anything? I have heard many beekeepers seem to "ignore" their hives over Winter. I want to make sure I'm not making a costly mistake.
The greatest measure of a person's character is how they treat people who have less power, especially when no one is watching

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: First Winter, Georgia, zone 7b

Postby moebees » Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:58 pm

What have the temperatures been? They won't take syrup when it is cold. If you think they need winter feed you should probably make up some sugar cakes. I mix 1.5 ounces water per pound of sugar and in a 4 pound batch add a couple tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Then press them into paper plates and put in the oven with the oven light on until they get hard. Usually 24 to 48 hours. Then just lay them on the top bars of the hive.

The reason for not taking syrup might bee they aren't healthy.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

PropolisTarp
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:53 pm
Location: Atlanta

Re: First Winter, Georgia, zone 7b

Postby PropolisTarp » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:25 pm

That's good to know! I also know that Solomon has fed his bees just straight granulated sugar ("Mountain Camp") and I have considered doing that. To answer your question, it was in the high 30s to low 40s for about a week during the snow cover.
The greatest measure of a person's character is how they treat people who have less power, especially when no one is watching

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: First Winter, Georgia, zone 7b

Postby moebees » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:19 pm

The temperatures explain it then. They won't take syrup much below 50. Mountain camp works but I find the cakes much more convenient and the bees won't carry it out of the hive. But either will work.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."


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