Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winterizing Plan Bee

Hard to believe it is almost December on the Gregorian calendar.  This morning after a slow drive up to Plan Bee because of grass mowing on I85 I arrived to a bright sunny Plan Bee.  Near the beehives it is a balmy 70 degrees in the sun.  Bees are out flying and I noted they had drained the 2 gallons of sugar water I had left for them in the chicken waterers.

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When you are out in the open like we are on Plan Bee, you have to think like a Bee.  We are getting our property ready for winter in warm weather and shining sun.  We know cold freezing weather is just around the corner.  Now that we have water if it gets really cold, pipes can break, the well head can freeze.  If we have our well burst it could cost thousands of dollars to repair.  In speaking with local rednecks, we have come up with a very economical solution.

  A light bulb.  HA!

So I popped off the well cover and put in a light with a timer.  Checked the bulb from last year and it was burned out.  Thankfully I had a replacement ready since I thought it a high probability a bulb would go bad.  Just a lightbulb turned on under the well cover that is set to come on from dusk to dawn to come on protects the well from freezing.  

With the tested light and timer in place, I simply drop the well cover over the well head and again and we are in business. Done

Next Job - With cold weather we have taken off the Mann Lake hive top feeders.  Instead we now have a solid inner cover on all three hives. (Aleph, Gimmel & Dalet)  Much to the chagrin of other beekeepers, we have elected to do some open feeding.  When the weather is warm and the bees are hungry we set up 2 one  gallon chicken waterers.  You can get a five gallon version that is easy to refill from the Tractor Supply store. I refilled the one gallon chicken waterers with sugar syrup.  I get my sugar syrup for $8.00/ 5 gallon bucket.  Refilled them and replaced my bumblebee marbles in the waterers so my bees won't drown. Such an idiot. Ha

Turned on the water for my fruit trees. Yea. Used to haul water now just turn it on from my frost proof yard hydrants. With our drip irrigation system in place, as I work I water.  Well worth the money.  Next year will extend the drip irrigation to water the front nut trees. I recently planted 2  replacement pecan trees.

So I did a quick weedeating job around some property markers and in front of the beehives. With the sun out and warmer weather, our bees found the sugar water and are really enjoying their meal.  At a usually safe distance in our picnic shelter I am being buzzed.  Stepping away from a curious bee seems to work well.

With a setting sun and a beautiful happy day, I bid good bye to Plan Bee. Winterized and ready to go.

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