Having given the bees all that sugar water back in September they really should still have plenty of stores. However, just to be on the safe side, we gave each a cake of fondant today. It’s there if they need it, and if they don’t, they’ll just leave it alone.
It was good to have a quick look through the polycarbonate crown board. Caitlin in Hive 1, Rebecca in Hive 2, Sam in Hive 3 and Hope in Hive 5 were all busy just under the crown board. In fact, some of the bees from Hope decided to come out and see us off!
Claire in Hive 4 and Susan in Hive 6 had no bees in sight and this was the case the last time I had a peek in! However, I had a good look down between the frames and I could see bees so they’re still in there!
Next visit will be to treat for Varroa in January or February.
We’ve spent the whole month of September feeding the bees. They’ve consumed 120kg of sugar, that’s 72 litres of sugar water. Thank goodness for Aldi, although it was starting to get slightly embarrassing buying 24 bags of sugar every week!
We’ve been battling the wasps all this month too. My homemade wasp traps were full after 2 weeks and we had to replace them with fresh traps, which are also now full. The hive porches definitely helped and, although there were still wasps about today, I’m hoping the numbers will start to diminish soon.
We ‘hefted’ the hives to see how heavy they were to judge the amount of winter stores. They were very heavy so we removed the feeders. We’ve left the smaller hives with a single brood. However, the larger ones have been left with a brood and a super (brood & a half) just to ensure they have enough stores for the winter. We’ve removed the queen excluders from between the brood & super so that the queen is free to move with the colony throughout the hive and stay warm. We also put in Apivar strips to medicate for Varroa, changed the crown boards to clear polycarbonate and put on insulation.
Once home, I cleaned all the removed equipment in a 1:5 solution of Soda Crystals and water and I will blow torch the equipment made from wood to ensure it’s sterilised before being stored for the winter.
The bees were out flying today in the beautiful warm October sun but they know winter is on it’s way! Our final job will be to add the mouse guards once the wasps have gone and remove the Apivar strips in 6 weeks time. After that, the hives won’t be opened again until the spring.
We did a quick inspection today and our lovely friend Lynda joined us as a beekeeper apprentice. What a natural – well done Lynda!
The exciting news is that Hope in Hive 5 definitely has a laying queen. Although we still haven’t seen the Queen, there was a lovely brood pattern over several frames and the hive was healthy and mild.
Drones have been expelled and the supers are not being refilled so the bees are definitely feeling autumnal. Clearing boards were put on every hive to clear the bees from the empty supers and these will be removed in a few days. After that, we’ll start feeding sugar water so they have enough time to process it into stores for the winter.
As Autumn takes hold, the bees will reduce for winter and inspections will be fewer as the temperature drops. I’ll miss the buzz, excitement, stress and bewilderment but I’m absolutely thrilled to have 6 viable hives, particularly as 2 of these were made by splitting existing hives.
It’s good news for US bees as a federal court overturns the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval for the toxic neonicotinoid Sulfoxaflor. Click here to read the story.
Thanks Fraser for passing on the good news!