After last week’s brief cold weather spell it looks as though everyone has had at least some sunshine again. However, it has sent the warning to get everything straight in your apiaries before you opt to spend spare time in your shed mending equipment or indoors in the warm.
 
Ensure your hive benches are strong and don’t need any maintenance; heft your colonies to ensure they have sufficient food for the winter but only continue feeding if the colony has not started to form its winter cluster; that you have removed any varroa treatments at the correct time and disposed of them properly; that your colonies are protected from wind by using hives straps and weights (we use house bricks); that reduced entrances and mouse guards are in place (as long as you are sure mice have not already snuck in); and lastly fit wire netting around your hives to protect them from woodpeckers if necessary.  
 
Make sure when you heft your colonies throughout the winter that you haven’t strapped them to your hive bench and you have removed any weights from the top.  Sounds silly, but it’s easy to get caught out - believe me - voice of experience!
 
You can then relax and turn your attention to the forthcoming winter celebrations.

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