Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Reading - Work Bees Work

We got just a little bit of rain late this morning. Just enough to get things a little wet is all and according to the forecast the chances of any more rain after tonight is not looking good either. We have had no rain to speak of for over three weeks now and things are getting really dry once again. The heat that showed up again last week pretty much put an end to all the struggling cucs and melons that had managed to keep the squash bugs at bay as long as they had nice temperatures and lots of rain. It also dried most of the bean plants out as well. Still plenty of tomatoes and peppers along with a few other things but the Sunflowers are definitely looking worse for wear now.

It was about the same time I noticed the garden burning up and the sunflowers drying up that I began to see some serious feeding activity around the hummingbird feeders as clouds of honey bees began using that as a nectar source. When the girls start hitting the hummingbird feeders its a sure sign that nothing else is blooming and producing nectar as the feeders are about the last thing they hit.

The goldenrod is close to blooming. A few here and there are out but I have noticed it blooms a week or so before the bees start working it. I imagine that it doesn't produce nectar right away or something. Regardless most of the goldenrod plants are still just yellowish buds not actual blooms and I haven't seen any asters opening up yet.

If it stays this dry then we may have a pretty poor Fall flow and the hives I have remaining that have not built all the way up yet will need to go into Winter a bit shorter than I want them too.

If we still haven't seen any real rain by the end of this week I am going to double my feeding for the rest of September into October. I can usually feed into November as long as I have the time to jump on any warmer temperatures that come up.

Tomorrow I will begin taking some mite counts on my older hives. I usually don't worry about a mite count until a hive is at least a year old unless it is showing signs of weakening. Currently I only have one hive that looks as if the mites maybe taking a toll which happens to be my oldest. I will place a sticky sheet under the bottom board screen and if after a day or two there are alot of mites on it I will throw some powdered sugar on the girls and leave the wood/plastic tray off the bottom for a few days while it is still warm. That should get rid of a good amount of the mites and lessen the stress on the hive.

I will also begin doing some final deep inspections to see if there are any little changes I need to make before bedding the hives down for Winter. I hope to have at least two large brood chambers per hive filled going into Winter but there are a few that are not looking as if they are going to get there if it stays dry. If thats the case I have about three partially full honey supers on the large hives I will transfer to the smaller ones and try to get the few lagging hives through Winter on a brood chamber and medium super.

At this point I really cannot afford a repeat of last years losses but the farmer's almanac at least is saying this Winter is suppose to be a bad one. Part of the reason I was a bit lax in taking as much honey as I could have earlier during the wet period was to make sure I had some to work with in case we had a dry Fall like it is shaping up to be.

Better safe than sorry, although I am gonna worry about my girls all Winter regardless.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. We got hit hard around here last week with the heat. Crop damage is noticeable. corn and soy beans took a hit. We had so much rain in June then its like someone turned off the spout. I hope that your bees can make it though the winter.

    1. Rob - I know my garden took a beating and pretty much finished off some stuff. The large scale stuff in the fields looks to be doing ok still.

      Ya we went from a nice wet Summer to drought-like conditions in about 3 weeks.

  2. Okay, I'll does powdered sugar help the girls rid themselves of mites???

    1. stephen - What happens is the you sprinkle the powdered sugar in the hive all over the bees. It coats them but is something they can use as well so they will clean each other off and while doing so pull the mites off each other as well. You leave the bottom screen wide open for a few days after doing the treatment and the mites fall through the screen onto the ground and can't get back up into the hive.

      That is the theory behind screened bottom boards. Basically a treatment without using antibiotics.


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