Snow At The Hives

The February snows have arrived.  I woke up last Sunday to the realization that a bit of snow had fallen and it was not going to stop.  That slowed things down a bit this week, thus this photo essay of Brookfield Farm Hives in the snow.

Our two livestock guard dogs came with me to check the hives.

Livestock Guard Dogs and hives in snow

Guard dogs and Hives








The larger one is the “puppy”, he is just one-year-old.


Snow covered hives at Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey, Maple FAlls, WA

During the snow










It’s a winter wonderland – one I could do without.  Snow should stay on the high mountains and not at the farm…if only nature could get that straight.

All was well, even with big chunks of snow falling all around us.

Beehives in Snow

After the storm








The next day my husband, tiny dog, and I attempted to drive up the 3/4 mile to the farm.  1/4 mile in, the drive became and uphill walk.  The farm is on a ridge – lovely, but challenging at times.

Brookfield Farm's road covered in snow

Our road










It doesn’t really show, but that’s a fairly steep uphill section that’s preceded by the “bad corner” : a steeper corner where the road makes an “s” shape.

First I went to get water for the packgoats.  I had installed a rain chain to direct water to a collection bucket.  It was a bit icy.

Ice covered Rain Chain

There’s water moving inside










I could watch the melting water descend down the chain inside the ice.  At the bottom the water dripped off the icicle and was filling buckets rapidly.  So goats were fine for water.

Icicle at end of Rain Chain

Slowly it melts










Then out to the hives.  Fine, and beautiful.  But, understandably, not a lot of bees flying.

Snow covered beehives in the sun

The sun arrives









The bottom entrances were clear on some; I cleared others.  But none of the bottom entrances were being used.

Beehive bottom entrance in snow

Not a Lot of Action










A few bees were using the top entrances to check out the sunny day.

Top entrance of beehive being used by honeybees

They liked the entrance








I drill two 7/32 holes for top entrances.  These fit the bees and the mice cannot get though.  (I have no idea what 7/32 is in mm – we are so behind the times here in the US)

A few bees decided they liked an alternate top entrance, where the collars sides had slightly separated.

Honeybee exits  top collar of hive

They Go Their Own Way








But all was well –

Snow on beehives at Brookfield FArm, Maple Falls, WA

After the storm










…except for that 1/2 mile walk back down the ridge at the end of the day.  Since then, my husband Ian has dug out the road.

That’s the news from Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey, Maple Falls, Washington.  We consider ourselves lucky.  The world-wide weird weather has hurt so many people and animals.  This snow storm has come and gone leaving only sore back.

How are your bees in your parts of the world.  I hope the weather is treating you well.






About brookfieldfarmhoney

Brookfield Farm, a small off-grid apiary in Maple Falls, WA focuses on the beauty and bounties of Washington’s wilderness. I sell honey from our bees, whose naturally-treated, antibiotic-free hives are home to bees who fly Washington’s mountains and farmlands. Herbal salves and lip balms from Brookfield beeswax. Delicately infused honeys and vinegars. Varietal honeys from independent Washington beekeepers. Karen Edmundson Bean: beekeeper, photographer. Her love of the wilderness inspires her to discover new ways of bringing the wonders of nature to others. Brookfield Farm : the tastes, textures, sounds, and images of nature.
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4 Responses to Snow At The Hives

  1. This will be my third year of keeping bees in Michigan and we lost all 4 hives this winter. It’s just been too cold for too long and it looks like dysentery got them. So sad! Looks like yours are in much better shape if they are out on a sunny day!

    • What kind of bees are you running? I use New World Carniolans, Russians, Ferals, and crosses of these. All dark bees. The nice Italians don’t work here – they have to go too long without forage. I like the dark bees as they overwinter in smaller clusters, and seem to control the queen’s laying to keep it in sync with the incoming forage. Mind you, you’ve got to stay on top of them all as to supering – these ladies all like to swarm – — Don’t despair – you might just need to find a new bee supplier (I also have an “odd” configuration of over-winter boxes, usually 4 or more westerns…and lots of honey…). Good luck…it will work. I lost lots of bees at the beginning of all this….

  2. The ones we lost were Carniolans. We started with just one local nuc two years ago and we split it four hives over the years. They seemed strong going into the winter and had a ton of honey. Everyone in Michigan is struggling, so nucs are hard to come by. We ordered two packages and are on a couple waiting lists for nucs. We ordered another package of Carniolans and a package of the Italians. That was kind of a fluke. Everyone we know raises Carniolans, so we thought we’d give the Italians a try. I’m going to do some more research on the Russians. I’m not sure anyone in our bee club raises them. Also, your dogs are beautiful! 🙂

    • Wow – you do have tough weather if the Carniolans don’t make it. I really like the Russians and Russian X NWC (you can buy queens, but not packages – well, you get the package of NWCs with a Russian queen). Make sure you read the stuff about Russian Queen introduction – they are more tricky than other bees, they smell different apparently, but very do-able. Good luck. Thank you about the dogs – I do love them, and they are on 24/7 keeping bears from the hives and cougars & coyotes away from the goats. Couldn’t have the farm without them.

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