It started as a joke at choir rehearsal. The bitter winter killed off all the bees and some wise guy suggested that we bring them inside for the winter.
Roars of laughter as we all contemplated John and the bees watching football in his mancave.
More laughter at the death glare I shot at my husband because I know the wheels are spinning in his brain. He has already been scouring the internet. How do bees survive the winter in places like Idaho? They bring the bees inside to potato cellars, which are dark (so the bees sleep) and a constant temperature (cool but not cold).
Alas, people are researching this. Granted, they are not researching it for the backyard beekeeper, but the information is out there…
Research is currently being conducted on controlled environment wintering. A temperature somewhere in the mid- or low-40° F (5° C) range, total darkness, ventilation to reduce excess moisture and humidity, and fall feeding of Fumidil B to suppress nosema disease are some of the major considerations. Provision for refrigeration should be considered also because sudden warming spells in late winter or early spring could result in undue restlessness and activity within the controlled-environment room. Colonies on flat-bed trailers that can be rolled outdoors or back into the room during warm or cold trends also would be desirable.