The high temperatures in the 90”s and dry weather are of concern at this time. The queens will slow down laying; hive populations will mostly start to reduce somewhat; there is little to no nectar flow until late August - early September and hive beetles, wax moths and Varroa mites are on the increase.
Beekeeping Note #1
One the primary ways to determine if a hive is doing well is whether the bees in the hive are calm when you initially open it up. If they are very aggressive close the hive up and wait and hour or so and go back and take another look. ALWAYS lightly smoke the entrance and under the top outer cover before opening up the hive. If the hive is still very aggressive, then the hive may be queen less. See Beekeeping Note #2. Another indication of the health of the hive is how many frames of bees are there? When you first look into the top of the open hive box, you can see how many frames of bees there are. This is bees filling in between the frames. An established hive will have 9 to 10 frames of bees in both brood boxes.
Beekeeping Note #2
Another way to determine if a hive is healthy is the brood pattern and the amount of eggs and larvae. There should at least 3 to 4 frames of brood in the hive. The normal brood pattern is in the center of the frame and can cover from 50% to the whole side of a frame. Capped brood should be present. There should be some eggs and new larvae on several of the brood frames. All this means that there is a healthy queen in the hive. You do not necessarily have to see the queen. If you do not fine capped brood, new larvae or eggs, then the hive is most likely queen less.
Beekeeping Note #3
Varroa Mite counts should be checked/tested for some time between now and the first of September on several of your hives. All hives will need to be treated sometime between now and mid-September depending on the mite count. Remember there are numerous considerations on treatments; temperature, honey supers being on, last time treated and last type of treatment, potential bee mortality and etc. Refer to the Honey Bee Health Coalition website as a very good reference.
Beekeeping Note #4
If you need to requeen a hive or have to do a hive split, I would recommend the following process: Check to make sure there are no queen cells, if there are, remove them. Place the new queen cage screen side up flat on top of the top brood box without removing the cork—leave closed. Wait 4 days and back into the hive, Check to make sure there are no queen cells, if there are, remove them. Then go ahead and very carefully direct release the queen out of the cage down into the hive. Close up the hive and leave it alone for at least a week before checking the hive again. It may take up to 10 days or more for a new queen to start laying this time of year.
I have pulled all my honey supers, treated all my hives with Apivar, removed all queen excluders, closed up all holes and entrances to all hive boxes and placed entrance reducers on all hives with the 2 inch opening. I am feeding once a week – no more often than that - with two one quart feeder bags 1:1 sugar syrup on each hive. I’ve also placed two Swiffer pads on all hives. I am slowing removing extra hive boxes so as to limit any excess space in the hives. I’d like to get all my hives down to double deeps or single deeps with one or two mediums going into later fall and winter. This also reduces space available for hive beetles and wax moths to invade. I “DO NOT” recommend feeding outside the hives or with area feeders. I “DO NOT” recommend feeding with any kind of patties—they attract hive beetles and wax moths. I will start doing mite checks and conducting complete inspections of all my hives right after Labor Day to evaluate each of them at that time.