How do Niakwa honey bees spend the winter

During the golf season, Niakwa bees pollinate plants throughout the golf course and deliver vintage honey in the fall. But how do Niakwa bees survive winter in Manitoba?

Honey bees do not hibernate, like bears, or brumate, like reptiles. Honey bees remain busy and awake throughout the winter living a slower-paced life, spending much of their time flapping their wings to create heat, clustered close together
~ like many over-winter golfers!
To protect the bees from our challenging winters their hives have mouse guards installed on the entrances and the hive body is wrapped in insulation.

Honey bees suffer greatly when too much condensation forms in their hives so paper inner covers are added and airflow is maintained with open entrances and loose layers of insulation.

A large wind barrier has been added made of recycled building materials to prevent drafts. Finally, an insulated tarp is draped over all the hives to prevent snow accumulation near the entrances as well as for insulation.

From Bees to Honey

One of the first signs of fall is the harvesting of honey! Once the bees have filled the frames in their honey supers and covered them in a white wax cap it is time to prepare to harvest.

An escape board is used to separate the bees from their honey, the bees can move down through the maze into the brood chamber (the lower boxes where they live). The board is placed between the supers and brood chambers and after a few days the bees should have left and the frames of honey can be removed.

Once the bees have left the honey supers through the escape boards the frames of honey can be removed.


First the honey is tested using a refractometer, the refractometer measures how light passes through a fluid to determine its moisture content and therefore its ripeness.

If honey is bottled while unripe it can spoil.

The honey is brought to the kitchen for processing where the wax capping is removed with a warm knife, this is known as uncapping.

The uncapped honey is placed in the extractor which spins the frames launching the honey out onto the walls of the extractor, the honey is then passed through a two stage filter and is ready to eat!