Beginners Corner

headshot mayby Buddy May

Here is hoping you were successful in your “bee yard” with plenty of experience incurred and knowledge obtained, going forward with your Apiary. At this point, you should have all of your honey supers removed, queen excluders removed and cleaned, and honey extracted. What was your refractometer reading for moisture content? 16.8 is a good reading and 17 would be acceptable. If you do not have a refractometer, locate one and check your honey! Why? Because, if you have excess moisture in your honey, it will surely ferment. Not Good.

We are entering a very nice part of the season with our bees, however, there are several things we need to pay attention to:

First, Check your hives for honey stores. There needs to about 50 pounds of honey stored for the winter. If you do not have that in your hive, then feed, feed, feed sugar water. 1:1 is okay, 2:1 (sugar to water) is better.

Second, Check your hives for strength. If they are not strong, do not procrastinate. Order another queen today and get her in the hive to increase the population. It is not too late for the queens to lay a very good brood pattern. If you have a weak hive, you can add it to a strong hive, but remove the queen first.

Third, perform a sugar roll test on each hive, and if you have 2 or more Varroa mites, then you will want to treat, and soon. I am treating this year with Mite Away strips. I am using only one strip and placing it on the top frames of the brood location. It remains on the hive for 7 days and you can leave it on if you wish. It is the one treatment that claims it will enter the sealed cap of the brood and kill the male Varroa. I will let you know if this is the case with my hives. A second treatment can be made in 6 weeks.

Fourth, consider getting some Mega Bee and feed your bees a patty. It is around 45% protein and will give your bees some well deserved nutrients.

Well, enjoy your hives, keep the bees healthy and they will be ready next Spring to bring in the honey. Until later, where we will begin talking about Oxalic acid treatment in the late fall, before they are put to bed for the winter.

Buddy May
buddy_may@bellsouth.net
864-430-0318
Certified Master Beekeeper