Autumn work in the apiary: processing and caring for bees before wintering

Autumn work in the apiary: processing and caring for bees before wintering

Bee families that are bred by humans must be properly collected for wintering. Preparation in the apiary begins with autumn work. It is important to familiarize yourself with the necessary processes in advance, choose clothes and suitable equipment. If you skip at least one stage, you can lose the bee colony, and the next year you will have to start all over again (buying and breeding colonies).

Why do we need autumn work in the apiary

Winter months are the most unfavorable period for domestic bee colonies. Regardless of the region and climatic conditions, starting from autumn, the temperature drops, and cooling sets in. This means that the amount of food for insects is significantly reduced or disappears completely.

Attention! With the help of autumn work, the beekeeper prepares bees and houses for a difficult winter period, protecting bee colonies from extinction. Wild bees do not need such procedures, while a person takes most of the food collected over the summer from domestic bees.


Caring for bee colonies is impossible without providing insects with additional food. Beekeepers use sugar syrup:

  • take 1.5 parts of sugar;
  • mix with one part water;
  • dilute until completely dissolved.

Previously, a ratio of two to one was used for syrup. However, the solution turned out to be thick, which prevented the bees from fully digesting it.

Also, the owner of the apiary needs to determine the method of feeding:

  • general - one feeder for all bee families in the apiary;
  • individual - food is displayed separately for each house, which eliminates competition between families and the mass death of insects.

Which option is more suitable depends on the nature of the bee colonies (the first option is less aggressive).


In order for the wintering to be successful, it is necessary not only to feed the bee colonies, but also to treat the houses from pests and some diseases. In the cold months, immunity is reduced due to the state of suspended animation, which individuals fall into in order to survive the cold. Preventive measures are being taken for the following diseases:

  • varroatosis;
  • development of fungal layers;
  • appearance of foulbrood;
  • nosematosis.
Varroatosis is an infection of the house with small mites such as varroa.In most cases, therapy consists in the use of chemically active elements. The preparations "Apistan", "Varotom", "Varostop", "Gabon", "Pericin", "Bipin", "Varropol", "Taktik" and some others are suitable. After pumping out the honey, the medicines are diluted with water (according to the instructions on the label) and the bees are sprayed, the procedure is one-time.

Attention! A distinctive feature of the use of chemicals is addiction to their action. The immunity of bee colonies eventually adapts to the effects of chemicals, so it is recommended to choose new ones once every two to three years.

In addition to artificially created substances, folk remedies are used. These are considered gentle and safe. For example:

  • alcohol solution of lavender - 6-7 drops of lavender oil are added to 100 g of alcohol (96%), the mixture is poured into a saucer, which is installed in the house, then you need to wait until the liquid has completely evaporated;
  • green thyme - a few freshly cut sprigs need to be finely chopped, evenly distributed over the gauze and placed on the grids on top, after drying, you need to repeat the process, in most cases you need to do 2-3 times;
  • sorrel acid solution - you need to purchase a concentrate and dilute it to 2% with water, then spray the frames (about 10-12 ml per element).

In order not to aggravate the situation, it is recommended to carry out preventive maintenance regularly. To do this, you can spray the houses with chemicals, be sure to inspect them before settling young individuals for the presence of parasites or signs of their vital activity.

Attention! In addition to these methods, it is necessary to monitor the strength of families growing in the apiary. Weak bee colonies need to be eliminated - united or destroyed.

More larvae and pupae are susceptible to fungal diseases. They do not have a developed defense system, so the likelihood of developing an infection is high. The reason is often the unfavorable conditions of keeping houses. For example:

  • location of houses in permanent shade;
  • natural or artificial humidity;
  • Insufficient ventilation.

When a fungus is found, the infected gratings must be removed, the honeycombs melted into wax. The diseased family is moved to a clean processed house, the uterus is replaced. The next stage is treatment with fungicides (Askotsin, Mikoask, Unisan and others are suitable). Use chlorine, manganese, or another household disinfectant to sterilize an infected house.

Foulbrood and nosematosis are bacterial diseases. The danger is this:

  • difficult to recognize in early stages;
  • causes festering of larvae, unpleasant smell and discoloration of offspring;
  • spores can stay in the nest for up to 30 years, waiting for favorable conditions.

Sick families must be destroyed, then disposed of, the house should be disinfected with an affordable household chlorine-containing agent. Details in the video.


Bees need a warm place to overwinter. It is not recommended to move families from their homes - only as a whole, to a cool basement. Otherwise, it is important to complete a number of preparation activities in time. These include:

  • the use of fibrous materials (they have the necessary breathability, which does not allow moisture to accumulate and sink to the bottom of the dwelling);
  • chosen material is required to beat the walls of the houses, the main thing is to leave small holes in the upper and lower parts for fresh air and removal of carbon dioxide.

Proper ventilation will help get rid of excess moisture, which can kill the bee family before spring.


The beekeeper should carry out this procedure every year, at the beginning of autumn - the first days of November are suitable. Taking care of the apiary means, among other things, timely identification of non-viable families and weakened insects, after which they can:

  • eliminate;
  • combine several weak families;
  • add offspring to the family to increase the bee family.

Attention! The latter option is possible only if the family has a strong enough queen, which gives a hardy offspring in the right amount for reproduction (usually these are young queens).

Building bee colonies

It is important that the bees enter the wintering with the right number of individuals. Therefore, the beekeeper needs to carry out work to increase the number of bee colonies. Action required:

  • layering individuals in the fall so that the uterus continues to lay eggs even after the last honey collection;
  • supply the family with sugar syrup or other food in time;
  • Insulate bee dwellings in time to be in time before the temperature drops.

Preparatory measures to increase the number of insects in the nest will help to make the bee colony strong enough. You can see more in the video.

Due dates

Work on preparing bee families for winter is carried out in accordance with a certain schedule. For better gradation, monthly designation of periods is used - September, October and November.


In most regions of the country, the last bee honey collection occurs at the beginning of September. Then you need to quickly do the following:

  • treat the house of the bee family from varroatosis;
  • feed families;
  • interrupt queen egg laying.

If at the end of the month the thermometer values drop sharply, you should quickly insulate the dwellings of bee families or prepare special winter quarters (omshanniks).


During this period, it is no longer possible to find brood in the dwelling of bee families, insects begin to form a club for the winter. It is necessary to remove all means laid out to combat the tick. The houses of bee families need to be reinforced with a metal grill to protect them from rodents, which become even more annoying in winter.


This month marks the end of the beekeeping season. The beekeeper needs:

  • regularly inspect the houses of bee families;
  • check the integrity of the houses;
  • inspect installed insulation and rodent protection.

If you plan to transport the houses, you must correctly determine the day - a strong frost is not suitable. It is better to wait for temperatures as close to zero as possible.

Preparation of bee colonies for wintering is one of the most important processes of apiary care. Following these steps will help families weather the cold and welcome spring with strong bees ready for the new season.

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