Bees of Greece

So we are here in Greece and had the opportunity to visit the bee yard of my brother-in-law.  I snapped a few pictures so you can see what a Greek beehive looks like – they are very colorful.

Bee yard in Greece

Beehive - They use old tires as a stand to raise them off the ground.

More beehives

A screen entrance reducer

A top feeder - notice the dead yellow jackets in the frozen syrup. Yup - it is cold here!

Inside of a Langstroth hive

Storing hives bodies and supers over the winter - since it is so cold here they can keep these outside without having to worry about insects and pests.

Another type of entrance reducer

How to store frames over winter

This is the first year we have hives during the winter. We have gotten some great tips from my brother-in-law on how to treat and store the frames.   The popular way to store frames seems to be outside in the cold, but here in Florida that is not the case.

The first step is to place the frames in a freezer for 24 hours.  This kills off all wax moth larvae and eggs.

Frames in deep freezer

Frozen (dead) wax moth larvae

By the way, the reason our frames got wax moth was because we left them sitting outside after we extracted the honey and moths got to them.  We won’t make that same mistake next time.

After you remove the frames from the freezer, let them sit out for a few hours so the moisture dries off.  This prevents any fungus from growing on the wooden frames.

Once that is done you can store your frames inside unused hive bodies.  In between each hive body you can put a sheet of newspaper with dried lavender as a natural repellent for wax moth, then tape up and seal the hive bodies so that no new pests can get in.

A local beekeeper also told us we can use Para-Moth inside the stored hives to prevent wax moth.  Do not use this in live hives, with cut comb honey, or unextracted combs of honey. We prefer the non-chemical method.

Hives taped and sealed up

When spring arrives you can also treat the frames in the freezer for 24 hours again just to be sure they are clean and free of any pests.

Preparing for winter

Not much new and exciting to report this week, but we are getting ready for winter.  Our “bad behavior” hive was still queenless and after harvesting honey we decided to combine them with one of the smaller swarm hives in order to help them overwinter.  We are going to check how the combination went later this week.  We are really hoping the “bad behavior” girls do not kill the queen from the hive we combined them with.

Besides that we have removed all supers (those are the top hive boxes where the bees put their honey) and have each hive down to one deep body.  We got a tip from my brother-in-law in Greece (who is also a beekeeper) on how to store the empty built frames.  After the bees have cleaned off all the leftover honey, you should place them in the freezer for a day to kill off any wax moth eggs.  After that you can put them in an empty hive box and close them up or put them in a sealed plastic bag.  My concern here is ants and roaches that may come after the wax and any leftover residue.

If any other beekeepers would like to share how you store your empty built frames to keep them safe from pests, I’d love to hear from you.