Nearly time to prepare hives for winter
Readers of my blog will have gathered that this year has not been the best for bees and their foraging. On Sunday I checked all my hives and found that stored honey in the supers is minimal. I therefore decided to prepare 5 of my hives ready for winter. Placing the crown board between the supers and brood box, I open one feed hole a fraction to enable the bees access to the supers to remove the honey. This method makes the bees think that this is not their own stores and they basically rob it and take it down to store in the brood box.
The weather is good at the moment and the forecast is good for another week. The bees are foraging hard, so with late blossom and soon with ivy in flower, I feel that they will fill brood box storage themselves and I will not need to feed them too much syrup this year.
3 hives have some honey to extract and I plan to take this off next week. Once these supers are off and the comb cleaned by the bees, I will remove all the supers from all the hives and start my varroa treatment. 6 weeks of Apiguard in place will control any varroa mite. I have placed mite boards under the hives and have seen very few dead mites. So I don’t have a varroa problem in any of the hives. With the apiguard treatment and plenty of stores, all my colonies will go into winter strong. Hopefully 2013 will be a better year for my bees and honey production.
One thing I have noticed this year is that none of my apple trees have apples on them. I believe a late frost when it blossomed caused this. One advantage though is the lack of wasps, feeding on wind fall. I don’t know about other areas, but I have hardly seen a wasp this year. So unlike last year, I don’t think wasps will be a problem attempting to rob honey from any of the hives.