Bee Blog

October Beekeeping

Bag of medicated sugar syrup for the bees  By the first week in October your colonies should be just about ready for winter.  That is in the area where I am from. We start getting the bees ready for the winter in August. First, I will weigh all my colonies. I will remove honey supers from light or weak hives. You may have to feed your bees depending on your areas nectar flow and weather. The remainder of the honey supers are harvested around labor day. That give us plenty of time to inspect, medicate and feed colonies before it gets to cold. Try to give a your colonies 2 gallons of medicated syrup. An important item to put on your hive now is a mouse guard. As the night get into the 40s, the bees cluster off the bottom of the hive. That is when the mice come in to make their nest. So put the mouse guard on if you had not place one on the front entrance yet. We have left the medication rims on top of hive and removed our varroa treatments. This is so we can put a bag of medicated sugar syrup in the hive under the inner cover. That is it for now. Giving the bees their final feeding and wrapping the hive is all that is left to do.

Getting Bees Set For Winter

   It is just about October. All the honey supers are off the hives and extracted.  I have put mouse guards on every hive. All hives have been treated for the varroa mite and nosima. We are still feeding our bees 2 to 1 sugar syrup. The top of the hive has the medication/feeder rims on. This is so we can put the medicated syrup on top of the bees in a gallon freezer bag. Since it is inside the hive and right on top of bee. It is an easy access for the bees to get the syrup. We will check the feeder bags in a week and put another bag of syrup on top of the bees. Most of our hives are in three deep boxes. We find the bees other winter must better with the third box. We will wrap the hives, put moisture boards on top, put a piece of fondant and pollen patty in the hive for the bees before November. It is the same process every year. Hopefully we will have a milder winter than last year. A side note for newer beekeepers. You should never pull your frames out now to inspect. Especially splitting boxes and removing frames from bottom box. You will just be harming your bees.  It is too late to inspect your frames. The only way to help your bees was to inspect them a month ago. Then start the winterizing process. 

Feding the bee medicated syrup on top of frames inside the hive. Feeder rim adds space needed to fit feed bag.Bee Talk reminder. The first Thursday of the month is this Thursday. For anyone who wants to attend Bee Talk please call  978 535 1622 to reserve a space.  See you there.

Bee Talk

   The bee talk night is normally on the first Thursday of the month. A bunch of beekeepers talk bees. But seeing how it is July 3. We will be holding it on the second Thursday this month, July 10. This months Bee talk will cover extracting and processing honey. A few people were asking. By the way, we will be harvesting our light honey this week.  There will also be a Q&A session. So bring questions.  It is an open invitation. But please call ahead. There is limited space. See you there.

Swarm Season

  It is swarm season once again. I have caught three swarms in the last week. The first swarm was on a fence. So we had to use a special bee vacuum to capture the whole swarm. The second swarm was only seven feet up in a tree. This was easily captured by using a ladder and swarm bucket. The third swarm was the easiest. Yesterday I was going to an apiary to clean up extra boxes while I was checking hives.  I noticed a swarm had landed in an empty hive sometime over the past week.  So I removed the mouse guard and inspected it. I found the bees working on 12 frames and brood on 5 frames. I found the queen and plenty of brood or all stages. Two of the frames had capped brood. I figure the swarm landed here about 10 days ago. I closed it up and continued inspecting hives. I capture swarms all the time. These are the best. I recommend putting swarm traps in apiaries. I used old bee boxes and frames. Some people buy special swarm traps. It doesn't matter what you use. It is all luck when the swarm lands in it. But it is great when it happens.

Bee Packages, Checking Queen and Brood

     Yesterday Vin went into 2 new hives that we had used wire wax foundation in. The bee packages were installed 3 weeks ago. I had removed the queen cages 2 weeks ago. It was the first real inspection for these hives. He had opened the hives carefully and removed a frame away from the bees to make an opening to slide frames into. We found the bees had drawn out comb on 5 frames. The first frame with bees had open and capped nectar and pollen. The next 2 frames had nectar in top corners, some pollen and brood of all ages. There was capped worker brood. The queens laying pattern looked good. But we found several queen cells in one hive and a supercedure cell in the other hive. So those package bees want to replace the queens. There was a good brood pattern in each hive. I do not know why. But the bees do. The bad weather could have had a negative affect on the bees. I will closely monitor the hives let the bees bring out their own queens.
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