The bees have finally been forced to retreat to their hives. The temperature has now dropped to around a maximum of 10 or 11 degrees. Its cold, damp and not beekeeping weather.
Its now the time to start to prepare frames, hives and traps for next years season, which will hopefully start around the first week of March. All that is left to do is to give my 5 framed hives a feed of candy or bakers fondant next month. This slab of sugar should help the smaller sized colonies through the winter. I have fed all my colonies with liquid sugar earlier in september but its far too late for the bees to be able to dry sugar syrop this time of the year. They can eat sugar candy anytime providing its warm enough for them to get to it.
All hives that are empty and have been used should be disinfected by passing a blowtorch flame over the surface of the interior. Not too much though, you dont want a charred interior and to burn off all the lovely propolis that the previous inhabitants have left. This is a great resource if a swarm becomes availible. They are much less likely to absconde if a hive has a good smell . Heating up the surface to just see the propolis become liquid is usually sufficient. You dont need a fancy blowtorch either. I use one that runs off replacable gaz cylinders. Obviously, remove your base and each subsequent part of the hive. The Nicot plastic base is not very blow torch Friendly. For this you can clean this on bleach and hot water. Also hives are very good at catching fire. Always leave your hive outside to cool off. The environment of "shed world" is such a great place for a fire to start.
Jobs to do around the Apiary