Honeybee Health: Preparing your bees for winter

September 4, 2020
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Did you know that UGVS now offers honeybee health management and veterinary care? With a growing number of small-scale beekeepers and a need for veterinary care, we are excited to get involved in Ontario’s apiculture industry. As always, we are committed to supporting the production of a safe and sustainable food supply and are excited to work with Ontario’s beekeepers!

With summer almost over, it is a good time to start thinking about overwintering your bees. Winter can be a tough time for bees, and it is important to prepare them for the cold months, ensuring you maximize their health and survivability. Here are some recommendations heading into winter:

  • Go into winter with a healthy hive
    • Stay on top of mite numbers as much as possible and if you have not done so already, check for mites in the late summer/early autumn; treat as needed
    • Ensure your queen is laying well and requeen your colony with a young and fertile queen if you have any concerns with the performance of your current one
  • Install entrance reducers and close any screened bottom boards to limit drafts and pests from entering
  • Limit wind exposure of your hives as much as possible by installing wind breaks or moving your hives to a more sheltered area
  • Manage moisture levels in the hive by giving your bees access to an upper hive entrance and tilt the hive forward to enable draining of any water in the hive
  • Feed your colonies with a 2:1 (70%) sugar syrup and ensure they have 3-6 frames of pollen going into winter
  • Treat for American Foul Brood – talk to your veterinarian for more information on this
  • Wrap your hives with winter wrapping or insulation for the duration of winter

If you would like more information on how to prepare your bees for winter or any other apiculture or honeybee health questions, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic.

If you have any questions on these or other topics, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Veterinarians.


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7707 Mill Rd., Guelph ON N1H 6J1
1139 Settlers Rd., Sheffield ON L0R 1Z0
7643 ON-6, Arthur, ON N0G 1A0


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