In the heart of fall, as leaves transform into a tapestry of warm hues, the beehive bustles with activity, signaling the imminent arrival of winter. Join me on a journey through the latest hive inspections of Gage and Gracie as we unravel the intricate tale of preparation for the frosty months ahead.

alcohol wash varroa mite check with 11 mites circled.
October 25th, 2023 Varroa Mite Check containing 11 mites out of 300 bees
beehive frame covered in bees with no eggs in the cells.
Gage hive frame with no eggs or capped brood.

Gage Hive Inspection: Unveiling Winter's Prelude

In the crisp air of October 25th, Gage hive showed signs of getting ready for winter. Honey was being stored in the brood frames, and the super was filled with honey for the winter. While the queen was found, no eggs were spotted, signaling a potential issue in the hive's reproductive cycle.

A mite check uncovered a sobering reality – 11 mites discovered within a 300-bee sample, yielding a mite infestation rate of 3.67%, exceeding the critical 3% threshold. Another round of treatment with Oxalic Acid Vapor (OAV) will be needed. The mite load only reduced by 47%, highlighting the need for earlier and proactive treatment in the future.

Full deep frame containing capped honey stores for the winter
Full deep frame of honey stores for the winter
beehive frame of pollen stored in the cells.
Resource frame of pollen

Gracie Hive A Symphony of Pollen and Preparations

Fast forward to November 7th, with temperatures hovering at a comfortable 68 degrees Fahrenheit, both Gage and Gracie hives buzzed with life. Bees gracefully choreographed the entry, laden with pollen, a captivating dance of preparation for the colder days ahead.

In Gracie Hive, the queen was identified, yet the absence of eggs mirrored the situation in Gage Hive. A pattern began to emerge, prompting thoughtful consideration for the winter months.

The decision not to conduct a mite check in Gracie Hive stemmed from a cautious approach. Understanding that the queen might have halted her egg-laying for winter, minimizing hive disturbance took precedence over mite assessment.

Although Gracie Hive wasn't as bustling as initially expected, a reassuring 80% of frames were blanketed with bees, including a fully stocked deep box brimming with honey, nature's gift for the hive's sustenance.

winterized beehive covered in styrofoam insulation
Gracie Hive covered in makeshift foam insulation for the winter

How do I prepare my beehive for winter?

To ready my hives for winter, I implemented the following measures:

  • Insulation Tactics: The hives began their winterization with a layer of protective insulation. Styrofoam provided an initial shield, complemented by a quilt box placed on top. Anticipating the possibility of styrofoam encountering challenges, alternative options included a winter hive insulation wrap or a cost-effective solution involving roofing felt.

  • Quilt Box Magic: A quilt box, a clever addition to the winterizing ensemble, played a dual role. Filled with burlap, hamster bedding, or similar materials, it absorbed moisture within the hive. Strategically positioned vents at the top expelled this moisture, while the insulating bedding shielded the hive from the cool air's grasp.

  • Sweet Reserves: Each hive, equipped with a full super or deep of honey reserves, received a shim from Amazon for the placement of sugar bricks on the frames, ensuring a food source for the bees during winter.

two winterized beehives covered in styrofoam insulation
Gage and Gracie hives covered in foam insulation for the winter


As the final leaves fall and winter's chill takes hold, Gage and Gracie stand fortified against the impending frost. Their stories emphasize the importance of vigilance, proactive care, and the delicate balance of nature as it readies for winter. Stay tuned for more updates as we navigate the winter months with our buzzing companions.