In the apiary


By now things should be quietening down in the hive. Any re-queening should have been completed and you should be looking towards preparing your bees for the winter. You should have identified all the honey you intend to take off and have put those supers above the crown board ready to go. The honey will still be accessible to the bees should the remains of our summer be wet but will be easier to remove later. If you have already taken off your honey please remember that your bees may now require extra feed.

You needn’t remove every last drop of honey from the bees since what is left on the hive could be an early Christmas present for them. A good colony will need at least forty pounds (or a superful) to see them through the winter to next March. If you intend feeding sugar syrup please remember to use only white sugar and get the proportions of sugar to water correct  i.e. 1kg. sugar to 1pint (500 ml)of water. They may well need a gallon or more per colony.

Once you have removed the honey you should think about treating your bees against varroa. Use only a recognised and legal miticide and do follow the instructions. There are an increasing number of treatments on the market so it is possible to vary them yearly.

As always at this time of year beware of strong colonies robbing weaker ones since disease can be spread in this way. If a colony looks as if it’s being robbed then close the entrance to just a few bee spaces. If that doesn’t work think seriously about uniting it with a stronger colony since a weak colony may well not survive the winter.

Wasps will become a real pest and will rob out and destroy a colony if given half a chance. Again, close down the entrance to just a few bee spaces or even to one bee space if necessary. If you know the site of a wasps’ nest whose occupants are robbing then it’s not a bad idea to destroy it before they get a taste for your honey and for your bees.

          Wasps and wax moth can destroy a colony in a week.

Now is not the time to split hives. In fact you should consider combining weak colonies to produce one which will survive the winter. Sometimes 3 or more colonies can be united using the newspaper method.

August is a month to be on your toes!