As the weather cools down and we wind down the beekeeping season, the attention turns to overwintering and the inevitable question of how one deals with varroa. If you know me very well, you know I don't treat for varroa, but instead promote hive health as a way to combat the effects of all assaults on the hive, whether it be pest, disease, environment or beekeeper. As a response to the questions I often receive I wrote a lengthy informational paper which is here on the web
This will be me tomorrow or the next day! Today I checked the hives and I am happy to report that I feel all the hives have stored enough honey for the winter. I had held back a super and a half of honey I had pulled earlier in the summer just in case I had to put it back on the hives. The hive in the experimental apiary looked good. The little swarm is not impressive and I will be very surprised if it survives the winter, but I left an empty box of drawn comb on the top
The hives did not look like this today because it was raining! However a good group turned out and I appreciate that. We discussed what to do now and in a couple of weeks and next month on the hives. My advice for now is to wait about two weeks, then assess how much honey is on your hives. If at that point the weather is decent, but the goldenrod is pretty much gone, then flip the inner cover over to the winter position so the bees can access the hive directly. Reduce en
Today was hot, especially for the time of year! However, the new ventilation in the horizontal hive seemed to be working well. I opened the hives today because I realized the weather forecast for the rest of the week is not very good, especially for the field day. So, I wanted to see how well the bees were doing with making honey for winter and assess their overall health so we can discuss that at the field day. The little swarm hive is still not really doing a whole lot.
The horizontal hive pictured here seemed to need more ventilation because the bees were heavily gathered at the entrance and were "bearding" on hot days. We decided to solve the problem by drilling a hole in the top on both the front and the back. Yes, my son wore a bee suit when he drilled the holes! He did use a handbrace though, so it was quieter and it didn't seem to bother the bees very much. We weren't sure if we would need to do this at some point, so my son had dr