Stewart Ledford, President of TN Valley Beekeepers Association gave a very informative presentation on Hive Winterization. (A copy of this presentation can be emailed).
Getting your hive ready for the winter begins NOW!
Right now, you probably have about four frames of brood. Too much space overwhelms the bees and opens the colony up to small hive beetle (SHB) infestation and possibly wax moth infestation as the hive weakens. The colony has been downsizing since mid-June or early July. Mid-September to mid-October you should consider downsizing or right sizing the space in your hive. The timing of this can vary slightly due to nectar and pollen flow influenced by weather conditions. Reduce space based on resources in the hive, not date. Ideal configuration - 2 deeps & 1 medium or 4 mediums (3 mediums roughly equal 2 deeps)
Install inner cover on top of the honey super with the feeding shim on top of the inner cover. This provides an attic for heat to rise and condensation to gather without dripping down into the hive. Also provides a place to put additional food stores.
Queen excluders as the cluster moves up to the food the excluder could prevent the queen from moving up and she will freeze or starve death. Beetle traps, you can leave them in but not necessary. The beetles will hang with the cluster in cold weather.
The cluster around the brood will maintain a temperature of 92-94 degrees throughout winter. This heat rising and hitting cold air in the top of the hive, will cause condensation and this will kill bees. Ventilate by leaving your screened bottom board open. Place the weight on top of your hive off to one side, so condensation will not drip through the hold in your inner cover.
August 22 – Chattooga County Honey Show
Sept 9 – NW GA Beekeepers Monthly Meeting
Sept 21 – Walker County Agricultural Fair - https://www.walkercountyagfestival.com/
October 19 – Beginning Beekeeping Class