October 1, 2015
The fabulous weather this week has been great for bees and beekeepers. The bees have been busy collecting pollen and fall nectar and beekeepers have been getting their hives ready for winter. It’s really the last chance for you to safely go through your hive to get an accurate picture of its health and preparedness for winter. I have been removing all supers and extra stories (empty comb seems to chill colonies in the winter months) and feeding sugar syrup.
I have been surprised how unprepared for winter several of my hives are. I think the heat and drought this summer must have shortened all the best nectar flows. Hopefully with a few weeks of feeding they will be better prepared. On the other hand, pollen stores are abundant as always. I just installed a couple of pollen traps and have collected beautiful fall pollen.
In addition to fall feeding it is your last chance to treat for Varroa Mites before temperatures get too low. If you determine that your mite population is high, there are several essential oil miticides available and they seem to be very effective. They require temperatures in the high 50s and 60s though so if you are going to use them you should start now.
Lastly, we hope to get a beekeeping club off the ground this winter so even if you have already signed up please send us an email with your contact info.