October 2018 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers AssociationThe weather is going to be changing significantly cooler and everyone needs to consider placing debris boards on their screened bottom boards when the nightly temperatures start to drop below the mid 30’s.  You can still conduct inspections when the temperatures are in the upper 50’s on a nice sunny days with little to no wind blowing. Entrance reducers should be on by now as well as mouse guards if necessary. The bees will move up and cluster in the top brood box when the temperatures drop like that. In October the queen slows down laying eggs and all the Drones are expelled from the hives.  It is important to start feeding hives 2:1 sugar syrup with Honey B Healthy for the bees to build up honey reserves for winter. There are varying opinions on how much honey/pollen needs to be on each hive for winter-- but 6 to 8 deep frames is a good start. BUT it is recommended that supplemental feeding be provided during winter regardless. Bees do not always move toward the frames of stored honey during a cold winter and therefore if the food source is not just above or next to them, they will die out due to starvation.  Also, if the winter is very mild, the bees will consume all the stores rather quickly and be without a food source going into late January and February.  Conduct the last comprehensive hive inspections.  Combine any weak hives with stronger ones. Fall into Winter preparation is underway with the goal of having hives ready for winter with at least 1 full deep hive box (10 frames) of healthy bees; 60 lbs. of honey and pollen; plus a good laying queen with considerable brood in the hive. It is also important to check for Varroa Mites and treat early before the cold weather arrives. Reference the Honey Bee Healthy Coalition website and review the various treatments and time of year treatment charts verse mite count. If the weather remains warm into and through October, then robbing will be a problem that will need to be watched for.