How to help bees survive the winter

After our previous fun with bees, I got pretty good at capturing swarms (grabbed four more). But the last swarm got away as I was on an international work phone call patching together three different countries via Skype. It was frustrating as I watched out my window, tracking the swarm drift away in the forest. Bummer.

So given that our bee population dropped by half in one of the hives, we’ve got about 45 pounds of honey in one hive and 65 pounds in another. Since this is our first year with these colonies, we going to try to ensure their survival this winter by not harvesting at all.

Related: during the down time this winter I’m going to build several bait hives to put out for next year’s summer heat swarm extravaganza. We saw eight swarms other than our own go floating across our pasture during the several weeks when everyone’s bees took off. It looked like a bee highway!