I have a couple of questions about how to properly prepare my TBH for winter at the end of the summer season. I hope someone can help answer these. This is my colony’s first season and I have checked the honey stores (not much there at all…basically just some brood comb at this point). So feeding is in order, I believe.
I have moved the follower board up next to the last comb to reduce the space for winter. Are bees generally still able to get under such a board to access a feeder if I place the feeder on the opposite side? I worry that it will be too crowded to place a feeder on the colony side. The hive and follower board are from Beethinking’s TBH. In other words, where to put the feeder? The feeder I will use is a ball jar screwed into a round plastic trough (i.e, small chicken feeder).
If I feed the them sugar syrup through the fall, when is a good time to stop? Or do I let it continue all winter?
What is the best configuration for holes and ventilation openings for winter? As of today I have just a single hole open (out of the six possible) and it is the one at the end of the hive nearest the brood. The three upper ventilation holes are open, too. The divider board is roughly at the halfway point in the hive. Is this ideal for cold weather and enough to remove moisture effectively? I want to make sure they have enough ventilation but not too much!
Is there a recommended insulation method for right above the hive (above the top bars?). Right now the bars there are pretty tight and propolized, so not much (if any) air can get through. However, I was thinking that maybe a liner of newspaper or even a foam board cut to dimension might be a good insulator to place on the top bars under the roof. Are there other areas that should have added insulation? ex. the observation window, the sloping sides, the hive bottom?
Thanks for any info!