September Tips for the Beekeeping Year
As you harvest, make sure your bees will have sufficient honey reserves for winter. (40-60 pounds) If after the nectar flow, you don't have enough reserves, be sure to feed them either corn syrup ( the jury is still out on this, GMO grains causing problems? DO NOT use corn syrup or other syrups that you purchase at a grocery store) use high fructose corn syrup or sugar water. In the fall, the sugar solution should be a ratio of 2:1 (2 parts sugar to 1 part water). THE BEST FEED FOR YOUR BEES IS HONEY, SO IF YOU HAVE HONEY AVAILABLE-FEED IT TO YOUR BEES.
· Make sure all your colonies are queenright and strong enough to make it through the winter. Combine any weak colonies or your hive will become infested with wax moths.
· Get your entrance reducers on towards the end of September to keep mice out of your hives. Check for mice BEFORE installing mouse guards. Check your bottom boards for holes big enough for a mouse to go through.
· Store any frames with drawn comb in paradichlorobenze (moth crystals). Wax moth damage can be devastating to your combs. Store them in a cool ventilated area. Do not store your supers in plastic garbage bags as this acts as an incubator for the wax moth.
· Update your record book---you won't remember in the spring!
Here are some reasons bees die over the winter, make sure you take care of these problems in the fall:
1. Bees run out of honey
2. Too few bees to maintain the cluster
3. The bees' digestive tracts compact with too much waste matter
4. They exhibit parasitic mite syndrome.
· Treat your colonies for Nosema disease. Each colony should be fed Fumagilin B in heavy syrup.
· Treat for American and European Foulbrood
· Check your colonies to see if you need to treat for Varroa mites.
· Combine a weak colony with a stronger colony. Colonies may be split again in the spring.
· Keep a vigilant eye out for small hive beetle. Inspect your hives to make sure you have a good laying queen. You should see brood in all stages (eggs, larvae, capped).
· If treating for mites, get your treatments on as soon as possible. Mark your calendar with the date they went in and the date they should come out. The earlier you can get your treatments on for Varroa mites the better chance you have of getting healthy young bees into the hive to make it through the winter.
· Make sure your brood is in the center of the bottom hive body. Arrange honey frames on the sides and in the top hive body--it should be full of honey . If it isn't, feed your bees syrup.
· Make sure your hives are tipped forward, just slightly so water doesn't pool on the bottom board and cause moisture problems.
· Take an inventory of any equipment that needs to be replaced and replace it!
THE BEEYARD REPORT
Oops, I'm way past deadline. Doing the Beeyard Report has been the last thing on my mind. Fall is a tough time for us. There is almost too much to do. The honey has to be pulled and extracted. We can't let it sit around or the hive beetles get started in it. We have to extract as we go. Mite load has to be monitored and dealth with. Colonies have to be fed up to weight. Insulaton boards have to be placed under the lids, entrance reducers have to be put in and wraps installed. I really don't think that wraps do anything to keep the bees alive but they cover the holes and help retain heat in the spring. That helps the cluster loosen up and have a larger brood area.
Alex and Adam put a mite treatment in when thy pull the yards. I try to follow behind a week later to check the mite load. So far, the most I have gotten on an ether roll is two. The mite load can increase exponentially at the end of the summer. Even when we start out with a relatively small load, there are always some yards we don't get to in time. We still have 15 yards left to pull at this writing. It's always tempting to try to catch that last box of honey but our experience has shown that it is best for us to get the supers off and get the mite treatment in. It only takes two or three weeks for the bees to crash if we wait too long. Going to Mt Pleasant really throws a kink into things.
That kills a week but it is too much fun to miss. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Our crop is decent. I'm guessing somewhere in the 80# area. We were hoping for 100 barrels when the bees were flying strong at the end of July. The rain put an end to that. Even with a decent crop, we will still have to buy honey. I finally have all the comb honey cut up. That is a time consuming little job. The market for chunk honey has improved over the last few years. I used to have hard time giving that away.
However, every opportunity seems to create a problem. Ater I cut up the chunks, I put them in jars and store them without liquid honey in the jars. Now, I need a freezer to store the chunks in so the honey that drains off them doesn't granulate.
Crowds at the State Fair were way, way down. If I read the signs correctly, they are still going forecast close to a million attendees. I can't see it. The 2nd Friday of the Fair is normally a big day. The yards around the Fairgrounds that park cars had almost no cars in them.
There were other days that had really short attendance. It speaks well for the IHPA stand that we still had good sales. Donna did a nice job.
I'm sure she will have a more detailed report on Fair activities.
The bees were starting to fly again around the 22nd of August. There is goldenrod coming on and quite a few sunflowers is some areas. When we lived in the Fairfield area, the bees always worked goldenrod hard.
Here, it's no so much. We have a couple of yards on prarie restoration areas whee there is lots of goldenrod. Last year the bees worked it.
That was the first time in a long time. You can smell it in the hive when the bees work it. The caps take on a yucky yellow color, also.
Crop reports are still spotty. Here's hoping you were in a good area.
Submitted by Phil Ebert