September in the Apiary
September in the apiary is a relatively quiet time after all the busy spring and Sumer activities. Most of the Sumer honey should now have been taken off and by the end of the first week into September all the heather honey flows will have finished and the honey taken off those also, hopefully for all the supers were full and we are coming to the end of another fruitful season.
The main job now is to check your hives and ensure they are all treated against Varroa a.s.a.p now your honey is all off, if not already done as the temperature is now starting to drop and a lot of the thymol treatments are temperature activated. Always follow the instructions on the treatment packaging to the letter to ensure a good result. No good doing things by half to save money. In most cases it costs you more by bees dying out from further diseases throughout the winter months then having to replace them in the following spring. So the No. 1 priority now, treat your bees against Varroa.
Now the second thing to do is to feed your bees up for their long winter months when no nectar or pollen will be available to them outside the hive. Virtually from the end of Sep right through in most cases to the begging of April. There are the odd exceptions where in some area’s they may have large willow plantations or snowdrop swaths but even these are going into early to middle April. Each full colony requires approx. 50 Lbs of store to sustain them through this period. Now for the beginner beekeeper, how do they access this by looking at the frames in your hives.
If you have left a full super of honey on your colony then that should roughly translate in honey weight to between 20/25 Lbs. two and a half to three ponds of honey per frame, Ten frames to a box. Regards your brood box frames. Go through them and for each frame full of stores its between 4/5 Lbs of honey weight. So tally them all up and if they are only half full half the weight and so on . Add this to the super weight and you have your overall weight of stores.
If this is lighter than 50 Lbs then you need to feed this colony with liquid sugar at a ratio of approx. a pint of water to every full bag of sugar. Warm it gently until all the sugar has melted and the liquid has turned clear. Leave to cool and then put this into either a rapid feeder or Ashworth feeder that holds around 6/8 pints at a time. Fill this up at around 7-pm evening time when all the flying bees have stopped flying and are back in the hive.they will then go up and empty your feeder, process it into stores by taking out some of the water content so it is storable throughout the winter months without fermenting. If you have a full super on, then take this off first and put the feeder directly on top of the brood box that you deem to be light of stores. When all the box is full replace the super. I personally take out my queen excluder at this time, replacing it on my first spring inspection. By doing this you are eliminating the possibility of your queen been isolated beneath the excluder if the cluster of winter bees move upwards into the super as stores run out below in the brood box and loosing her due to chilling.
When this is done if you have conventional solid floors, put on your mouse guards. If on mesh floors with a smaller 4/5 inch entrance that opens and closes for transportation of your colony close up your entrance to a single bee space to avoid robbing or wasp attack. This is done by placing an ordinary biro pen in the entrance and close it on the pen. Then withdraw it leaving a single bee space, this also stops mice sneaking in as they cannot get through this gap. A large stone or bricks on the lid to hold it down if winter Gail’s occur and you and your hive are ready to go into winter with the best possible chance of survival through the winter months.
One final thing remains for all you Beekeepers out there to do.
Select your best honey even if it’s only two 1 lb jars, warm it pass it through a fine filter then jar it in clean polished jars with new lids and get it ready for the Yorkshire Beekeepers honey show held at the Countryside Live show. This is held on the 17/18th of Oct at the Harrogate show ground. All are most welcome, beginners and old hands alike. We need your support and this is a fantastic day out for all the family. If you require an entry form and schedule I will gladly forward one to you. Just call me on 01302 772837. If I am not available at the time just leave your name and address and request,and I will gladly oblige. Look forward in anticipation to seeing many more of you at this years show.
There are other things to do and be done, however I will cover this in the next months edition.