It has been a long season this year at HiBar Ranch and Farm. Our ranch in Upstate New York has had busy bees who were very productive this year. Over the course of the last month before snow I took the liberty to downsize the hives/frames to clean them up for this coming spring.
We harvested quite a bit of honey this year that will be sold next spring at Moonstone Farm down the road. The honey is deep and dark, very rich in flavors from the diversified abundance of plants that bees love up here. We have early spring willow and maple, then dandelion, clover and all the normal florals of summer then vast amounts of golden rod in fall. This long season set of floral delicacies make our bees thrive for a very very long season.
This year I want to make sure that our bees do extremely well over the winter. So, I removed all the top frames and just left the brood chamber supers at the bottom of the hive. I did not harvest the complete amount of honey to assure there is enough to carry the bees over the winter.
I then minimized the bee entrance to the hive to keep it warmer in winter and have now wrapped the hive in insulation for the winter. This will keep the hives warm enough so they do not freeze.
Now I am in the process of stripping all the frames and boxes that I removed to get them very clean for next spring. I plan to harvest all the wax for my candle and salve making. Then I will sterilize the frames with a combination of bleach and water. Most people advice two cups of bleach to five gallons of water. You soak the frames for 10 to 15 minutes.
After this process is done I will save some of my cleaned/rendered wax and brush that wax back on the frames to prepare them for re-entry back into the hive this coming spring.
Now that we are heading into Christmas, it is my time of year to make all my farm products that I sell for the coming year which includes soaps, salves, facial products and honey products.
Have a happy Thanksgiving and God Bless! L. Davis