Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall Beekeeping

Cold nights (and days) start the bees going into CLUSTER.  Automatically, they tend to push the population DOWN to the bottom box - keeping their stored food above them.  COLD NIGHTS = SUGAR SYRUP BUCKETS.  They need to fill every nook and cranny of their boxes with food for winter.

My BIG HIVE - my BIG PRODUCER is GONE.  After harvest, she dwindled to "nothing"...and I suspect she was the origin of the late swarm.  The long and the short is - Big Hive was QUEENLESS and Swarm was QUEENLESS.  WHY this happens - who knows!  All of the populations were combined with other hives and equipment reduced by using the bee-escape board (maze).  I HIGHLY recommend a BUNCH of these boards (bee-escapes) for not only clearing supers for harvest - but they really make it easy to clear equipment ANYTIME of the year and for ANY OTHER reason.  I also use them to keep bees (and mice) OUT of equipment. I put one on the bottom and one on the top of my storage stacks - it also helps with ventilation.

The loss of my big producer has sent me on a QUEST to find out more about late season queenlessness and hive failure.  It has me wondering - HOW MANY HIVES ARE WE ACTUALLY LOSING IN THE FALL? - only to overwinter them - and blame their failure "on winter" come spring?

This weekend is pretty much the last look for me.  Their second thymol treatment comes out...and EACH OF THEM WILL BE CHECKED for QUEEN (or brood).  If I find any queenlessness - it's going to be a scramble to get those combined with queened hives.


Erin said...

My bees swarmed sometime between last monday night and this past sunday. I was out of town so I don't know the exact day. They left almost a full pan of sugar syrup. Devastated is an understatement. When I filled their pan on Monday night and took a last look inside they were pretty aggressive and the hive looked really good. When I went back in on Sunday it was a ghost town. The wasps have robbed almost all of the winter honey ( which tells me they left earlier in the week) I guess I was feeling kind of smug that I had such a great summer an a decent honey harvest off of a new nuc. Knocked me back in my place a bit.

d said...

gosh erin - that's a REAL BIG-TIME BUMMER!!!! it leaves you wondering - WHAT DA? WHY???? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? (or are they?) is this something being triggered in their genetics / dna? looking for warmer weather? if i could only read BEE-MINDS :)

rachel said...

I'm enjoying reading your blog as I start with bees in Tanzania! But it certainly isn't getting colder here ... but I'm eagerly waiting for bees to arrive somehow!! Rachel

d said...

rachel - TANZANIA!? i think this is probably the furthest our blog has gone :) do you keep LANGSTROTH type hives or do you keep TOPBAR hives there? What's your "average" hive setup there?