Wintering of bees is carried out in different ways. You can use a barn, but due to the difficult climatic conditions in Russia, such a method is not always justified. It is much more convenient to place the bees in a greenhouse. This will protect the family of insects from death, and in the spring they will be full of strength for work.
Characteristics and types of wintering
There are two main ways of overwintering bees in a greenhouse:
- In a standard polycarbonate greenhouse .
- In an improved greenhouse.
With the first option, there will be nothing wrong, but during the spring period, this building will heat up quickly enough. When the temperature reaches +10 degrees, the insects will actively fly out into the street, and it is not always possible to attract them back.
In the second case, the polycarbonate greenhouse should be covered in winter with a layer of roofing material. The room will turn out darker inside, and in the spring there will be no sharp temperature fluctuations.
There is another good way for bees in a greenhouse – you need to cover the inside of the polycarbonate with a three-centimeter foam. It is necessary to fasten the foam sheets at the joints to the mounting foam and in the middle part of the sheet along the punctures. The room will be gloomy all the time, and the temperature will be approximately -9 even in severe frosts. In spring the temperature will reach -2 degrees. In a greenhouse of this type, the bees will be most comfortable.
Preparatory work and features of care
The following features stand out:
- In the greenhouse for bees, you need to mount metal stands. The hives are placed on them so that the mice do not get to the family.
- Before wintering, all wood frame parts are treated with oil.
- From December to February, nothing needs to be done, except to clean the path in front of the greenhouse.
- Bees in a greenhouse in February should be given honeycombs that are sprinkled with melt water. Pieces of honeycombs are placed on two bars with a section of 10×10 mm, and the bars are placed on the frames. Similar bars should be laid on top, and then a canvas should be placed.
- In March, the family can be taken outside from the greenhouse. At this time, top dressing with honey and bee bread is being carried out again.
Humidity, ventilation, heating
When the bees enter the greenhouse, the temperature in the greenhouse will rise in the first days. At this time, it is recommended to slightly open doors, hatches and ventilation pipes so that the insects do not cause anxiety. When the bees calm down, you should slightly open the notch. The building is heated using foam plates according to the previously indicated scheme.
The best option for keeping bees in a greenhouse would be an ajar upper notch, with the lower one closed. This will protect the hive from moisture. These insects do not like to be disturbed, so it is not recommended to visit the greenhouse often.
Closer to spring, brood appears. In this case, the bees will be more restless, and they need more honey. 1 kg of honey requires 1 kg of air. At the same time, heat is released: 1.5 kg of carbon dioxide and 0.5 kg of water. In the building, the temperature rises again, so it should be reduced if possible. To do this, you need to slightly open the front door at night, only a grill is placed on it first. With an increase in the temperature in the room by more than +4 degrees, you need to increase the humidity.
No need to listen to the bees in the greenhouse. If it’s a steady hum, then it’s ok. If the temperature is lowered, then weak hives buzz more strongly, and if it is increased, on the contrary, strong ones. When strong bees are buzzing, it is necessary to ventilate the room, and during the rumble of weak bees, reduce the amount of cold air.
Questions about air humidity
Bees are attracted to the greenhouse only in those cases when they have satisfactory conditions. It is worth understanding whether the humidity in the room is optimal for insects. It is determined using a psychrometer. You can check using two thermometers:
- One thermometer is taken.
- His ball is wrapped in cambric or a double layer of gauze with the ends lowered into a container filled with water.
- Moisture will evaporate from the moistened ball, and they will cool as much as dry air in the greenhouse.
- According to the psychrometer table, air humidity is determined by the difference between the readings of thermometers.
The indicator of normal air humidity is from 75 to 85%. Bees get moisture from honey. If the humidity is too high, the honey will spoil. If the air is dry, the honey will become too dry.
Humidity is reduced by increasing the temperature and ventilation at the same time. You can put buckets of salt in the greenhouse. If this method does not help, then the bees need to be moved to another greenhouse. Often it is in Siberia that dry air is observed. The problem is solved by watering the floor in the greenhouse with water.
- If the process of preparing for winter is wrong, then the bee colony may weaken by spring, and its pollination activity will come to naught. The reasons for unsatisfactory wintering include improper nest assembly, late feeding, and the presence of sick colonies.
- Different breeds of bees have different winter hardiness. Some insects can withstand frost, while others cannot.
- To ensure a good winter, you need to prepare strong families in the fall. You also need high-quality food – 3 kg per street. Temperature indicators in the winter hut should be optimal.
- It is recommended to replace the queens that are in the greenhouse every year. In autumn, single-celled eggs lay about 2 weeks longer than two-celled ones, and 20 days longer than three-celled ones.
There are certain rules by which food for bees should be prepared for the winter:
- Insects on light honey hibernate best.
- In the spring it is also better for bees to give honey.
- If the quality of honey is questionable, it is necessary to replace it with sugar by 50%.
- Wintering will be better if air space is left between the bottom and the nest.
- Honeydew honey is not used in winter. It is good for the spring period, when bee colonies are building up strength.
Beekeeper mistakes and wintering problems
The most common mistake beekeepers make is to create inappropriate conditions for families. This includes not creating a normal humidity threshold, not creating shady conditions, and not tracking the temperature regime. The result is weak and often sick families.
The main problem of wintering bees inside the greenhouse is the possibility of an early flyby. When the sun begins to heat the polycarbonate, a strong glow of the material appears from all sides. This disorientates the bees, they begin to fly out for the first flights. As a result, everything around will be excessively soiled with the waste products of insects.
For a long time there has been a debate about the benefits of overwintering bees in the wild. If the winter hut for bees is bad, then it is better to leave them in the wild. In the wild in the central regions of Russia, only medium and strong families are able to winter. Abnormal wintering conditions of bees lead to the disintegration of the winter club and early oviposition. The result of this is a greater consumption of honey and a poorer wintering. A draft is not desirable for bees in a greenhouse, especially when there is enhanced ventilation of the greenhouse.
Feeding the bees in winter
Bees overwinter in various ways: in a haystack, in sheds, on the street in beehives, but the best option is a polycarbonate greenhouse. It is recommended to insulate the room inside with foam boards to ensure the safety of insect families. In the process of wintering, the level of humidity and ventilation of the greenhouse plays an important role. It is necessary to feed the bees with quality products and not to disturb them over trifles. Winter feeding is permissible only in the most extreme cases. As a result, in the spring they will fly out of the greenhouse full of strength.