Things are Swamped (Literally) Here at the Home Office – by Brian Whiddon, Managing Editor

Things are Swamped (Literally) Here at the Home Office – by Brian Whiddon, Managing Editor

Howdy Readers,

Well, Angela is overloaded with BookLocker work so the Home Office column landed in my lap this week.

It’s been a fairly rough week, and I’m sure that Angela will catch you up on some details next week. I’m currently restricted to disseminating information on a “need to know” basis – and currently, y’all don’t need to know. But, I’ll tell you anyway. Angela has been coughing and sneezing and going through a world record number of tissues. Shhh. Don’t tell her I told you that she’s sick. It’s the second cold she’s had recently and she is NOT happy about it.

In other news, Spring came – and went again. The carpenter bees ducked back into their holes and the temperature dropped back down into the 20s and 30s. Currently, as I sit here typing on Friday, it’s cold, dark, and raining. Bleahhh!

My bees had started producing some good brood and it looked like they were ready for some expanding room last week. So, after serving them a full gallon of sugar/water syrup, I placed a “deep” box full of 10 empty frames on top of the original brood box that was full of bees and brood (eggs and larva). To get them motivated to start building out more comb, I took two frames full of larva, placed those in the new upper box, and switched two empty frames down in the lower box. Little did I know that just a week later, we’d be back in freezing weather.

Adult bees can survive cold temperatures by clustering and vibrating their bodies. Even when it’s freezing outside, the inside of a hive full of healthy worker bees will remain a steady 90 degrees. But, the larva and eggs are very vulnerable to cold. They can die in anything under 50 degrees. The bees protect the brood by covering them with the cluster. I’m still new to beekeeping but I think this is where I might run into a problem: By adding a second box of empty frames, I basically doubled the cubic footage of space that my bees need to keep worm. Additionally, I took about a third of their fragile brood, and separated them from all the other brood. So now, the bees have to either split, and create two clusters to protect the brood, or they will have to stretch that one cluster to keep the brood warm.

As an additional protective measure, I wrapped the hive in “Reflectix” insulation to help keep the heat in the hive and, two nights ago, I draped blankets over the hive as the temperature dropped down to 27 degrees.

Stay tuned and I’ll give an update when the weather improves. At that time, I can open up the hive, and check on things again.


Brian Whiddon is the Managing Editor of and the Operations Manager at An Army vet and former police officer, Brian is the author of Blue Lives Matter: The Heart behind the Badge. He's an avid sailor, having lived and worked aboard his 36-foot sailboat, the “Floggin’ Molly” for 9 years after finding her abandoned in a boat yard and re-building her himself. Now, in northern Georgia, when not working on WritersWeekly and BookLocker, he divides his off-time between hiking, hunting, and farming.

BLUE LIVES MATTER: The Heart Behind the Badge by Brian P. Whiddon

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