Sunday, September 2, 2018

EARLY SEPTEMBER by beekeeper Fred

While on a walk yesterday I saw the honey bees heavily working goldenrod.  I can’t remember when I last saw this occurring.   In addition, there were the usual bumble bees, yellow jackets, wasps and even medium size red ants.  The honey bees were working the freshly opened bright yellow flowers only.  They were not loading up their pollen baskets, so I am assuming they have found nectar on the goldenrod this year.  Maybe it’s the influence of our recent heavy rains. 

This year I treated my honey producing hives with formic acid in late July.  I have left the honey supers in place and will hopefully be catching a little goldenrod nectar flow to increase my honey harvest.   When performing my mite treatments, I also made a rough count on the numbers of supers of honey.  When the majority of the goldenrod flowers begin turning brown it will be time to harvest my honey crop and I will be able to roughly measure the increase in honey from the goldenrod. .

Some packages this year did not build up enough to produce surplus honey.  In late August I started feeding these hives 2/1 sugar syrup to ensure they have sufficient stores for winter.   This will continue until I see a slow down in their uptake of the syrup.  
This weekend I also combined two weak hives in the hope of getting one winter survivor instead of none.  

This blog had previously provided a link to the efforts of a Hudson, Wisconsin beekeeper that last winter overwintered about 60 double deep five frame nucs and had 80% survival.  He had no need to purchase packages in the spring.  This summer I have set up 12 double deep five frame nucs and will try to emulate his success.  In the past week these nucs were moved to their intended winter locations (a sunny south facing sheltered area) and are being fed 2/1 sugar syrup to ensure they will be at full strength going in winter.  They will be also getting oxalic vapor treatments in September and October to minimize their mite load.  In late October they will be wrapped in 1 ½ inch foam insulation for better heat retention.   Also, as shown in the picture the nucs are gathered into batches of four (4) to allow for a potential sharing of any heat the clusters produce.   

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