Things to do in July
Well what a mixed season we are having up and down the county this year. The Spring was a wash out with heavy rain flooding the crops in the fields, then this long long dry spell that most of us have had to endure. This has resulted in a lot of areas whereby plants and trees have just shot down, flowers opening as normal however not many days afterwards all shriveling up due to total lack of water. Even the limes, chestnut and brambles in my own area have produced almost nothing. Just enough coming in to sustain the colonies but very little surplus for us Beekeepers. On the other hand, in some areas that have had a moister climate mainly in the North, this hot spell is producing a glut of nectar coming in. Clover in these areas is very prolific and they have not suffered this drought to the same degree.
All this said there are still lots to do in our apiary’s in July. Taking off any or some of the surplus honey and getting it extracted and stored away all filtered and clean is one task. Before doing this don’t forget to use a hydrometer on the honey to access the water content of your precious honey.
Don’t want to store it away if the water content is too high. 17/18 is the figure in the R/H column we are aiming for when reading our hydrometer. 19 is just acceptable but anything higher than this really needs feeding back to the bees to re process, getting that water content down.
Check that all your super and brood boxes are all alighted correctly and there are no gaps where robber bees can get in.
This can be a major problem in some areas. Also close down the entrances to enable your bees to defend better against an attack from robber bees and wasps. Honey is far better taken off the clearer boards in the evenings at this time of year, when all the flying potential robbers are in house and not as many bees trying to get back into the supers when once they are off.
This time of the season is also a time of year when a lot of Beekeepers run out of vital equipment, underestimating the need to hold extra boxes and foundation to keep up with heavy cropping.
July is also a time for all Beekeepers to check the buildup of the dreaded varroa mites and treat where applicable. Is you still have supers on and your varroa levels are high, there are still treatments that can be applied that are safe to use. Check with your local stockists all you beginner Beekeepers prior to purchase of these treatments to get the best possible results. Remember left unchecked varroa can devastate a colony and wipe it out. Be aware.
Check your colony’s food supplies and ensure your bees have sufficient food stores. If not get those feeders out, filled and on your hive/s. This is always done late evening again when all or most of the flying bees are in the hive.
Check your colonies are all queen right and where possible mark your queens for easier identification when inspecting the colonies. Some of our more experienced Beekeepers are still raising new queens so, don’t forget those beginners who may need help with identifying if their colonies are queen right or not. If they’re not and you have an extra queen, give one to a new beekeeper to help them out, and ensure they don’t buy bees/queens from abroad. Keep the local bee populated thriving please. I hope this helps a few of our Beekeepers.
Happy beekeeping and full supers.