Beekeepers brace their hives against the cold - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Beekeepers brace their hives against the cold

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Another lingering reminder of last week's Arctic blast--the sub zero temperatures had humans concerned about their safety, but the cold kept hundreds of beekeepers in southeastern Minnesota buzzing about the health of their bees.

A local beekeeper today who has been raising bees over the last three years, and after our area grappled with frigid cold temperatures last week, he was worried about losing more bees to the weather than normal this year.

Richard Jopp of Rochester says it's normal to lose about half of your bees in the winter time, but come spring, they should be strong enough to repopulate.

Right now in the dead of winter, it's considered unsafe to expose the bees to the cold, but he can still hear some buzzing inside the hive.

It's a good sign, especially after months of preparation for the winter.

"Around November, November 15th, we try to get the hive ready for winter by putting guards in, cleaning it out, I try to insulate it a little bit," said Jopp. "I think if you ask ten beekeepers how they do it, you'll get ten different answers."

Jopp says you will sometimes see a few fly out after a few days of above freezing temperatures.

He is playing the waiting game now, but in the spring he hopes to begin another successful honey season.

Last year he bottled 50 pounds of the sweet stuff to share with family and friends.

Jopp says for now it's pretty much hands off until March, but that he gets plenty of advice from fellow beekeepers in Minnesota and attends monthly meetings to learn new tips.


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