After the Honey Crop
What do we do now?
A talk by Simon Foster
Slides reproduced by kind permission of Simon. The notes should help to clarify the slides.
It has been a good crop this year. The flow will probably end earlier then normal.
Except balsam or heather. Avoid Ivy (solidifies in comb) by feeding well.
Assume you have put back supers to dry out and then removed.
Remember to store separately labelled from which hive – in bin liners
Big Colonies survive better, including the cold, wasps and diseases.
The weather starts to get cold patches & nights in October, making it difficult for bees to process nectar & syrup.
Ensure clean comb. Old comb harbours diseases (EFB, AFB, chalk brood, nosema).
If you have not done shook swarms or used bio-mechanical varroa control, then will need to reduce with proprietary products.
As the colony is smaller, easier to find Queen (and mark if necessary).
Queens do not seem to last as they used to…another discussion.
Either chalk brood or nosema will prompt bees to supersedure – perhaps too late to mate successfully.
May lead to premature loss of brood & bees.
I used to keep old but good queens in Nucs over winter.
But have found that my location is prone to wasp attacks in Autumn.
If you only have 3 frames of brood at this time of year, investigate why.
Lower probability of surviving winter particularly if an old queen.
If this year’s queen try feeding to build up before Autumn – after varroa treatment.
Check brood box – may have no room for queen to lay – full of stores already.
Need to ensure winter bees are strong and long lived – varroa weakens them.
Put back varroa floor and check count. Check count against the BeeBase varroa calculator. Treat in August if it cannot wait until Oxalic acid treatment at Christmas.
Resistance develops with synthetic pyrethroids eg flumethrin Bayvarol & Apivar (amitraz)
Essential oils & formic acid temperature dependent.
Of course you may be experimenting with a hygienic strain.
I have one I picked up from Chardstock but it is in a separate apiary.
18kg , unlikely to need more in the south west. I used to use double brood boxes then brood and a super, now down to one brood box.
But with careful checking in Feb/Mar and some candy.
If you use a brood and a half put super (eg honey crop) on the bottom, they will eat out first and not fill with brood come spring.
It is damp that kills bees not the cold alone.
Need ventilation – 20% water in honey stores that needs to go somewhere when stores consumed.
Consensus in SW that open floors with insulation in roof is as good as solid floors with a draught up through the roof
I do wrap my hives in smooth plastic to deter woodpeckers..
There followed a Q&A session. Keith made a point that within the East Devon area the type of forage varied tremendously. For example, in Payhemmbury, the main crop was from oil seed rape with very little in July, with the result that the bees needed feeding heavily during the later part of the year.
Many thanks to Simon for his wealth of hints and tips and local knowledge. Thanks also to Mary who stepped in as ‘Zoom Master’ and did a great job. See you all again on 8th August for another virtual meeting.