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Buttoned Up For Winter – 2023

The time has come my friends, the awfully dreaded winter in Northern WI is upon us! So far we had a chilly fall, then it warmed up, then it rained A LOT and then it warmed back up again. I have high hopes (at least I try) that maybe our winter wont be so bad since our fall wasn’t too bad!

With cold weather coming back, probably in FULL force here shortly, we did the final things we needed to do before it hits. We had a warm fall weekend, (50 degrees is warm for us) so we took advantage. Did a quick check to see how they were doing and added our quilt box & candy board. You may be asking what these 2 things are.. let me tell you !

What is a Quilt Box?

A Quilt Box is the box we have used in the past that helps pull moisture out of the hive. We believe in the past, we struggled with moisture. As you can imagine, moisture and frigid temperatures, don’t mix well! With how WET of a September & October that we had, we knew we needed this Quilt Box on.

Why Is Moisture Bad?

Moisture is bad because it can freeze the bees as soon as cold temperatures hit. The ladies work hard to heat themselves, which causes moisture in itself. Wet bees do not survive once they freeze.
Which is where the Quilt Box comes in handy! The Quilt Box is just an empty box with a mesh bottom that you fill with a moisture absorbent! There are many things people use, however we have used Pine Shavings & a cotton t-shirt. The shavings are cheap enough to purchase, easy to handle and seem to do the trick! The t-shirt comes in handy by keeping the shavings from falling down into the hive.

Pine Shavings

We had made a makeshift quilt box until the one we ordered came in. But when we put the box on and filled it with shavings, we thought it was probably best to change the shavings often. Weather dependent, I was trying to change the shavings just about every 2-3 days. You can’t really tell if they are wet, but better safe then sorry! I did this for a couple of weeks until our new quilt box arrived and the rain has stopped. Throughout the winter, we wont need to change these as often, maybe once a month and check on their feed. Which brings us to the Candy Board.

What is a Candy Board?

I, Megan, recently just discovered what a Candy Board is. I follow quite a few beekeeping pages on Facebook that have helped me understand some things and have offered really great tips!

A Candy Board is a board that goes between your top Honey Super and the Quilt Box. The Candy Board is designed so you can feed your bees in case they go through their own supply before winter is over. Sometimes, winter is long, here in Northern WI and they run out of food of their own.

We purchase some sugar patties from a local beekeeping store. The patties are loaded with Hive Alive, which is a feed supplement to promote intestinal well-being and strengthen bee colonies. The bees seem to eat it all up, so we will do a check in a couple months to see how their supply is. Easy enough for us to check now with this candy board!

The hive alive Pattie’s are in a plastic bag in which we cut a 3” square out on each Patty allowing the bees to eat the sugar patty throughout the winter. We then put the open square hive side down for easy access for them!

Now What?

I feel like this is a question I get asked A LOT! Now what? What do you do?
We do nothing! We hope we got them settled in for winter, we have a moisture absorbent, their own honey supply as well as some supplement in case and we close the lid and wait! Yep! We wait…

Please wait patiently with us, cross your fingers and hope for the best! I am confident we got this! I really am and I will keep this confidence until the end of winter!!

Thanks for taking the time to read! Drop some comments and share with your friends! I love sharing this with everyone!

Again, we are not professionals, this is all just experience and from some research! What we do, does not always work for everyone else!

Much Love & Honey,
Megan, Mark & The Buzzing Ladies

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