78 posts

Beekeeping Notes for September 2020

Special Note

I have been participating in a university beehive research program this summer. The researcher sampled 6 of my hives for Varroa Mites and took samples of bees for additional testing and evaluation for viruses and etc. in late July and returned and repeated the same again this past week. Interesting Varroa Mite counts: During the initial inspection, Varroa Mite counts varied from as high as 42 to as low as 0 in hives just a few feet apart. During the follow-on inspection this week and after I had completed an initial treatment of the hives, the 0 mite count hives actually had significant increases in the mite count while the initial higher mite count hives had a much lower count. What is the significance of this information?

  • First, treating for Varroa Mites is very important regardless.
  • Sampling for Varroa Mites on a regular basis to include before and after treatment is very important. Recommend the alcohol wash method.
  • Just because a hive is treated does not necessarily mean that the hive has been completely and effectively treated for mites.
  • I’m treating my hives for a second time in a month starting this week and for the 4th time this year. I will be sampling for Varroa mites again toward the end of September, early October. And I will treat again if necessary.

The researchers have inspected over 20 apiaries across KY and plan on publishing a preliminary report in October and I will post as soon as I receive it.

Beekeeping Notes

  1. The fall nectar flow has varied considerably around the area from pretty good to pretty poor. This will mostly likely continue through mid-September. For some, there is fair chance that you might get a little fall honey. By mid-September, you should have removed all supers from your hives.
  2. It’s time to conduct a good hive inspection to check for a laying queen, eggs and brood. Egg laying may have taper off some; the populations may be down a little; and there are probably no more drones. It’s also time to evaluate the strength of each hive (strong, average, weak) and consider combining weak hives with stronger hives. REMEMBER: queens need a lot of bees in the hive to keep laying.
  3. Trying to find a queen for re-queening may be difficult and the process may not be as effective as you might like.
  4. September is the month to also consider downsizing your hives to where there are plenty of bees in each hive box – 8 frames or more of bees in each box. A hive can be downsized to just one deep and still be successfully managed through the fall and winter. REMEMBER to always make sure that the queen has 4 or 5 frames available in the middle of brood boxes.
  5. During the hive inspection, check to see if the hives have plenty of stores going into the fall. If they do not, then consider to start feeding your hives with 2:1 sugar water through October.
  6. Do not feed outside the hive and be careful not to spill any syrup or other around the hives---it will incite robbing.
  7. Be very careful using Honey Bee Healthy or Pro Heath in the syrup mixture because it can also attract other bees and incite robbing.
  8. In September, some beekeepers start using winter patties like AP 23 winter patties from Dadant or similar. CAUTION: until it turns cold, the hive beetles will be very active and they love patties—so consider only feeding 1/3 to ½ of a patty at a time between the brood boxes.
  9. It is also a critical time to check for Varroa mites; they build up in August and on into September. So it is important to treat in September for Varroa Mites. The weather forecast looks good for starting treatments over the next 10 days or so.
  10. CAUTION: read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and completely. Remember that their recommendations are based on treating strong hives with good populations. SO you may need to reduce the level of treatment for an average or weak high. APIGUARD is a good example: it comes in single treatment in a square flat canister --- that’s for a strong hive – way too much for an average or weak hive—so you may need to remove about half of the jell from the canister. Similarly, FORMIC PRO comes in a two patty single treatment pack for strong hives – too much for an average or weak hive--- one patty is sometimes adequate or two treatments of a single patty may be more effective. For the use of both Apiguard and Formic Pro, there generally is a need to add an extra box on top to allow for expansion of the bees up in the hives during the initial few days of treatment due to the strong fumes coming off the treatment. JUST SOME THINGs TO CONSIDER.
  11. If you have not placed entrance reducers on your hives, then it is time to do so, and also consider mouse guards by October as may be appropriate.
  12. Consider putting out Bug Jugs. They are great for collecting up wax 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 apple cider vinegar, 1 banana peel, and a quart of warm water --about 1/2 to 3/4 full but well below the cut hole. Hang jugs nears your hives. One jug per 3 to 4 hives. They really work. Good from thru October.

Hardin County Beekeepers News for July 2020

This has been a daunting Spring and Summer for all of us as we have tried to negotiate through the unknowns of COVID-19. It has impacted us all in ways we could not have imagined. I hope you are all safe, sound and healthy - and your bees too!

  1. As David has indicated in his messages over the past month, we will not be able to hold our meetings until August. HCBA will send out a notification letting you know that we are “a go”, an agenda, and the restrictions necessary to be able to meet. As of now, I know we must plan our meetings requiring social distancing (meaning a maximum number of attendees based on the designated meeting space) as well as being without food or drink - necessary precautions in these COVID times. More to follow…
  2. Please do not hesitate to call one of us for questions with your hives or your beekeeping. We may not be able to come to your apiary that day but we can probably find one of us to do so within a few days. We will do our best to HELP you manage YOUR hives.
  3. As David mentioned, I have a mobile honey extracting service by appointment. I have some ground rules:
    • I am a facilitator, I’ll bring the extraction equipment and I will help YOU harvest YOUR honey.
    • I am available after 5 during the week and usually most weekends.
    • Minimum number of frames for me to come is 4.
    • Charge is $1 per frame for my expertise and supervision - well the equipment anyway since I am neither an expert nor a good supervisor!
    • You will need to provide an adequate space - 10x10 foot area inside the house or garage. Not outside as the smell of honey will draw every bee for miles...
    • You’ll need a tarp or drop cloth to protect your floor
    • You need two honey buckets, at least one with a honey gate
    • You will need to purchase a 5 gallon mesh paint strainer for your cappings from Lowes, Home Depot, Ace, or any other hardware store - call if you’re not sure what I’m talking about
    • Do not pull your frames until we are confirmed for your extraction. If you leave them off the hive too long they can draw critters in your storage area, not to mention moisture… Call if you have questions.
  4. HCBA and KSBA are seeking volunteers for the KY State Fair (20-30 August) to assist with the Honey Booths. Please contact me if you are interested so we can organize a group from HCBA to participate. Information is below. Deadline for interest to me is 1 August.
  5. If you are interested in selling Honey at the fair please see the second attachment to this email. NOTE - your honey labels must meet KY and FDA guidelines to be sold. Contact one of the “old timers” if you have any questions, or go to https://www.honey.com/honey-industry/regulation/honey-labeling or you can contact Leslie Y. Cobb, R.S., Retail Food Program Technical Consultant, Food Labeling Compliance Specialist, KY DPH Food Safety Branch, 275 East Main Street, Mail Stop: HS 1C-F , Frankfort, KY 40621, (502) 564-7181, Email:Leslie.Cobb@ky.govIf you know of anyone interested in beekeeping, please do not hesitate to forward this to them.

Please stay safe and healthy - watch out for those who don’t act in your best interest...

“Bee Happy!"

Burt Thompson
Vice President, Hardin County Beekeepers Association

What Can Pollen Tell Us?

Bee Informed PartnershipThursday, June 25, 2020, 12pm EDT/9am PDT

Habitat and forage quality have emerged as critical factors influencing the health of honey bee colonies. The nutritional status of bees influences their susceptibility to disease and their resistance to other stressors. Understanding the ebbs and flows of resources availability in the landscape can help beekeepers identify the needs and challenges their colonies are facing. In addition, as bees forage from their environment, they can pick up pollutants from various sources and bring them back to the colony. Monitoring for colony contamination can inform us about potential contaminants found in honey, pollen, bees and wax, as well as provide a picture of the contamination present in the surrounding environment. In 2019, BIP conducted an exploratory study looking at the potential to use trapped pollen from honey bee colonies as a means to: 1) look at the presence of heavy metals in the environment, 2) assess the degree to which the available pollen was able to meet colony nutritional needs, and 3) use laboratory techniques to assess pollen richness and diversity throughout the bloom period. This project was supported by funding from The James M. Cox Foundation.  Register Here!

Note: Webinar will be recorded.