Your bees have given you joy and honey (hopefully!) this summer. Now it’s time to give back to ensure they have a safe and cozy winter. They need three things:
Your hive needs healthy bees to raise the bees that go through winter. Keep monitoring your varroa mite levels through the end of October. As uncared for hives collapse, your bees will rob their honey and bring back more mites. Your bees need to be free not only of damaging mites, but also of the viruses they carry. To help in your mite monitoring, we have varroa shaker jars, which can be used with either powdered sugar or alcohol. At this time of year, Formic Pro is your best option.
ApiBioxal (oxalic acid) is expected to be in later this month. It’s a good treatment for broodless periods such as late Dec. to Jan. and for spring packages and swarms.
PROTEIN AND CARBS. One hive needs 60-80 pounds of stored honey to get through the winter! Start feeding your bees now if they don’t have that and/or if they use it before cold weather sets in. FEED INSIDE THE HIVE!!! to prevent robbing. We have feeders that can be used in the hive to get sugar syrup to your bees safely, including 1- or 2-gallon buckets, Boardman feeders, and squat glass jars that will fit inside a medium super. Feed 2 parts WHITE sugar to one-part hot water. Measure them separately by weight or by volume. It’s tempting, but do not use organic sugar! We also have ProSweet liquid feed already mixed and ready to go.
One or two pollen substitute patties will give your bees protein so they can store more real pollen and help fight off the viruses that linger even after varroa mites have been controlled. Place them between the brood boxes (Langstroth) or directly below the brood area (TBH).
Insulate, but don’t suffocate. Block the wind, leave at least ⅓ of the entrance open, and make sure you have a notch in the inner cover rim. Close your screen bottoms or switch to solids now so the queen feels safe laying in the bottom. Consider a Bee Cozy, a type of insulated hive wrap that can be used over and over. Don’t forget a metal mouse guard: mice are hungry too and can chew through a wooden entrance reducer in no time.
If you’re not sure how this all fits together, come in and see our demo hive set up (no bees).
It’s not too early to start thinking of the holidays! Did your favorite beekeeper lose their hive tool, find mouse holes in their gloves, or complain of back pains from lifting big boxes of honey? We have solutions for all of those as well as reading material to take their skills to the next level. Our small honey bears or glass hex jars make great holiday visiting gifts or stocking stuffers. Much of the Bee Barn is also hosting the Holiday Market so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance in finding what you need!
Kristina will be in Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday’s during October.
(P.S. Give Kristina’s Honey a try – it’s really great!)