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.

September 2018 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers AssociationThe fall nectar flow has started and will continue through mid-September in many cases. There is a good likelihood that you might get a nice honey harvest of fall honey. By mid-September, you should have removed all supers from your hives. It time to conduct a good hive inspection to check for a good laying queen, eggs and brood. Egg laying will have taper off and there is probably little to no drone cells any more. Also time to evaluate the strength of each hive and consider combining weak hives with stronger hives. During the hive inspection, check to see if the hives have plenty of stores going into the fall and winter. If they do not then consider feeding your hives with 2:1 sugar water through October. “DO NOT OVER FEED”. It is also a critical time to check for Varroa mites; they tend to build up in September during the warmest days. So it is important to treat in September for Varroa Mites. If you have not placed entrance reducers on your hives, then it is time to do so, and also consider mouse guards as may be appropriate. Consider putting out Bug Jugs. They are great for collecting up moths, wasp, yellow jackets, flies, and other flying inspects/pests. Arizona Tea jugs are excellent. Cut a 1 inch square hole in the upper face of the jug opposite of the handle. Fill with 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of vinegar, 1 banana peel, and warm water --about 1/2 to 3/4 full but well below the cut hole. Hang jugs nears your hives. One jugs per 3 to 4 hives. They really work. Good from thru October.

August 2018 Beekeeping Notes

August is usually a hot dry period of time and the bees will need water. Some beekeepers feed a little 1:1 sugar water to the bees at least once a week until the Fall nectar flow begins in late August. This is also the time when there is the biggest threat for robbing events to take place. It only takes a minor issue like dripping sugar water on the ground near a hive or leaving a hive open to long with honey supers still on to incite an incident. It is a good idea to place entrance reducers on your hives and to close off any other possible entrance accesses. August is the beginning of the Fall/Winter preparation period for your beehives. Weak hives need to be combined with stronger hives or be re-queened preferably with a strong Nuc. Take care to watch for increases in Varroa mite populations, small hive beetles and the dreaded wax moths. All hives should be treated for Varroa mites in mid to late July or August. The population of the hives can only manage and protect a reasonable space. Too much room in a hive, regardless of the population, can result in hive beetles and wax moths moving in and taking over a hive. This can happen rather quickly. So consider removing extra supers and/or mostly empty supers especially off weaker hives. The Fall nectar flow generally starts mid to late August and ends around mid-September.