Current Beekeeping Notes

3 posts

September 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers AssociationThe weather continues to be hot and dry and the queens have really slowed down laying. There is very little nectar flow in many areas.

Beekeeping Note #1

I have checked all of my beehives and they are all doing pretty good, but the weight of the hives tells me that there is not nearly enough honey and pollen stored up in the hives. You can check the weight by picking up on the back of the hive a little way and if it does not feel heavy at all or only a little heavy then you need to feed more often. I fed all my hives on Wednesday morning and by 06:00 PM that evening many of the hives had completely consumed both bags of sugar syrup. I will begin feeding at least twice a week with two (2) quart feeder bags of 1:1 sugar syrup. That’s every 4 to 5 days. Late in the month, I’ll mostly likely increase the feeding to 2:1 sugar syrup thru October. Avoid patties because the hive beetles and wax moths love them—maybe later in October when the weather turns much cooler and after the first frost.

Beekeeping Note #2

I treated all my hives back in early August with Apivar strips and so they should be good until mid-September. Some time after that, I’ll do a mite check and treat again in late September or early October. Wax moths are abundant so be on the watch. Put up my recommended bug jugs.

Beekeeping Note #3

All honey supers should be removed by now. When there is a little cooler day and not so hot and humid, it is a good time to inspect the hives to see how they are doing. That means “very carefully” inspecting each hive body/box for eggs, larvae, capped brood, honey and pollen stores --- seeing the queen would be a plus but not a necessity if there is eggs, larvae and capped brood. Plus doing a mite check on at least a few of the hives.

Beekeeping Note #4

It’s pretty much to late to split or re-queen a beehive. BUT you should start evaluating each hive as to whether each is a strong healthy hive, a moderately strong but healthy hive or a weak and not so healthy hive. I just reduced one of my not so strong or healthy hives down to a single deep and may re-queen with an extra Nuc that I still have. The other option is to combine weaker hives with stronger ones. Unfortunately, you must pinch out the queen in the weaker hive. OR if the weaker hive appears to have a healthy queen but just not doing well, you might consider reducing the hive down to a single deep or to a Nuc and seeing if the queen gets going again.

Beekeeping Note #5

Be sure that you are properly storing deeps, mediums and shallows with drawn cone or they will get consumed by wax moths very quickly.

February 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers AssociationBeekeeping Notes for February

You should to be thinking and planning ahead out into March and April.” Moisture and extreme swings in the daily temperatures is again a huge issue this February. The bees will be cluster during the very cold days, but the bees acclimate very well as long as they are healthy bees. The queens will start laying during warm days above 50 degrees and the bees will be flying. Be watchful of Tracheal Mite issues; bees staggering around on the ground outside the hive; the wings appear to be deformed. The old timers used to make up grease patties for Tracheal mite control. A few dead bees outside the hive is not unusual because the winter bees will start dying off. February is the time for early Varroa mite treatment before there is any significant buildup of brood. Many beekeepers will be using Oxalic Acid either by vaporization or fogging. Treatments should only be applied on warm days when the bees have broken cluster and are flying. Refer to the Honey Bee Health Coalition website for more information. For screened bottom boards, be sure to remove the debris/inspection boards and scrape them clean before replacing them.

On a nice warm day above 50 degrees with little to not wind take a look into the hive to see if the cluster is about the same size as previously and that there is still adequate stored or supplemental food source available. If the hive has died out, take it down and clean it up for use later. It is NOT recommended to start feeding 1:1 sugar syrup in February because there are still periods of very cold and freezing temperatures. Feed any spring pollen/protein patties can be done after the middle of February if the weather has started to warm toward spring. Adding these patties will stimulate the bees and the queen to lay so be cautious that you don’t apply to early. Some beekeepers do not apply these patties until mid to late March. .

If you have a need to relocate any hives, February is the best time before the weather really warms up too much and the bees begin actively forging for pollen. Recommend relocation when there is going to be a three or four day period of cold weather which will keep the bees cluster within the hive. Be extremely careful not to break up the cluster while moving the hives.

Now is the time to get the beekeeping equipment repaired or built for use in the spring. Old black/dark foundation should be removed and replaced with new. It is best to wait until close to the time the new foundation is to be used to place the wax foundation into the frame. The wax foundation can become dried out and cracked and the bees will not work it. This is true for waxing of plastic foundation—wait until closer to the time that you need to put it into use.
If you have not yet order packages and Nuc’s and/or queens for spring—it may be too late for delivery in April and early May. But later delivery is not a bad thing though.

Start attending HCBA meetings; attend a HCBA March 30th Bee School and join the KY State Beekeepers Association.

January 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers Association

Beekeeping Notes for January

The bees will mostly cluster up during the very cold days but the bees acclimate very well as long as they are healthy bees. The queens will lay some during warm days above 50 degrees and the bees will fly. Be watchful of Tracheal Mite issues; bees staggering around on the ground outside the hive; the wings appear to be deformed. The old timers used to make up grease patties for Tracheal mite control. A few dead bees outside the hive is not unusual.  On a nice warm day above 50 degrees with little to no wind take a peek into the hive to see if the cluster is about the same size as previously and that there is still adequate stored or supplemental food source available. If the hive has died out, take it down and clean it up for use later. DO NOT feed any pollen/protein patties at this time of year. For screened bottom boards, be sure to remove the debris/inspection board and scrape it clean.

Now is the time to repair or build beekeeping equipment for use in the spring. Remove old black/dark foundation replace with new. It is best to wait until close to the time the new foundation is to be used to place the wax foundation into the frame. The wax foundation can become dried out and cracked and the bees will not work it. This is true for waxing of plastic foundation—wait until closer to the time that you need to put it into use.

Now is the time to order packages and Nuc’s and queens for spring—it may be too late. Most suppliers will have taken most orders by now for delivery in April and early May.