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Fall and Winter Management

Division of Plant Industry – Apiculture
8995 East Main Street 
Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-3399



Management during the fall and winter is very important because it is the starting point in providing strong colonies for the next year. The beekeeper should consider the following management practices:

A. Requeening colonies in early fall if weak or recently queenless.

B. Very weak colonies should be united with stronger colonies.

  1. Use newspaper method by placing a sheet of newspaper between the two colonies being united and puncture about six (6) small holes in the paper.

C. Check honey reserves.

  1. Each colony should have about 60 pounds (a deep super).
  2. Fall feeding of sugar syrup is provided in a 2 to 1 ratio (sugar to water). Syrup can be supplied to the bees inside of the hive by:
a. Friction-top pail – placed on top bars within an empty hive body. Punch 20.30 holes in syrup container with 3 penny nail or drill with 1/16 inch drill.
b. Division board feeder – container that replaces a comb in the brood nest.

D. Inspect colonies for any diseases before wintering. Mites can be controlled once honey is removed.

E. Reduce hive entrance to prevent field mice from entering.

F. Provide upward ventilation such as:

  1. Drilling 5/8 – 3/4 inch hole in top super just under hand hold.
  2.  Raising inner cover by placing nails under front edge of cover. This provides only about a 1/8 inch gap. However, it allows moisture to escape.

G. Remove queen excluders if used.

H. Provide wind protection for the winter.

  1. Shrubs, fences can provide windbreaks.
  2. Colonies should be placed where cold air flows away (high ground) and the hives should receive sunshine (southern exposure).

I. Paint and clean up equipment to be used in the spring.

Prepared by: Gordon Rudloff
State Apiarist
Ohio Department of Agriculture