Someone once asked baseball great Roger Hornsby what he did in the Winter. His reply: “I stare out the window and wait for Spring.” While we can all echo his sentiment, neither baseball players, or beekeepers take the Winter off any more.For most beekeepers, next year begins in the late Summer and early Fall. We need to make sure our bees are healthy before the cold weather sets in, and have enough honey stored away to last them through 5 or 6 months with no flowers. If we don’t, we may not have bees in the Spring. Fall is the time when we do the bulk of our planning, too, especially if we want to expand our business. We need to make sure we have what we need next Spring to go where we want to go, or at least sourced and ordered.
Once the snow flies, and the bees are in their Winter wraps, we don’t need to touch them until the Weather warms up, so we head to the shop. At Hazel-Grove, we build our own woodenware out of local, second growth Pine, so the sawdust and paint is flying most of the Winter. Cleaning and repairing honey supers is another Winter job. It all takes time, but we need to be ready once the bees wake up. Once they start harvesting nectar, it’s amazing how fast things move, and it’s always best to stay one step ahead of the bees. They, like Father Time, wait for no one.
I do confess, however, to taking the odd glance out the window, and longing for the day I can once more take a cup of tea up to the bee yard, and sit among my bees.