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Winter Chills

As the weather gets colder and trees start to lose their leaves, it is the time of year when most flowers have past their peak blooming period and your garden can look quite bleak. Bees around this time of year will stay in their hives, perturbed by the cold weather, relatively consistent rainfall and the lack of pollen/nectar that is so vital to their hive's survival through the bleak winter months.

When approaching the winter months, bee hives should ideally have devoted almost all of their frames completely to stores of honey, nectar, and pollen much like a bear does when turning in to hibernate during winter. However, inside the hive the bees are not 'hibernating' but still active. If you looked inside a hive, you would see the population of the hive in a central huddle, only venturing away from the warmth to acquire the necessary food from their stores. It is for this reason that any artificial feeders placed on the outer sides of frames will not be eaten. The bees will not stray from the warmth far enough to discover it and since the typical sugar and water solution gives off no scent, they will have no idea it is there. This can be the cause of downfall for many new hives unable to collect enough natural stores; Frame feeders are placed but not discovered, resulting in a hive of dead bees and a depressingly full frame feeder.

For gardens, the absence of bright blooms and sudden arrival of frost can present a tough challenge for the planting of bulbs and for hardy plants to force their way up through the frozen ground. However, on the days when the soil is softer, it is not too late to plant your bee friendly seeds.

Seedbombs such as Kabloom are great ideas, simply shake, wet and throw into your garden and they will produce bee and butterfly friendly plants when they need it most; as soon as they have emerged from their hive. These plants that are perfect for the bees can be literal life savers and will continue to support your local bee and pollinator populations. Additionally, now is a good time to ensure your bird feeders are stocked up and in an adequate position to keep the birds full. Finally, try not to disturb a wild area of your garden for there could be hibernating hedgehogs curled up inside piles of leaves or other animals dormant for winter hidden and safe.

Have a happy new year and keep spreading the word and love of beekeeping and Host My Hive,

Max Davies

Founder and CEO of Host My Hive

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