Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Closing Up for the Fall

I was very proud of my girls and all the surplus honey they collected. I walked around my hive the other day to get a feel for what was happening with the nectar flow. Clovers were present upon the ground but no bees were foraging from them. I still had some flowering plants in the garden, yet again, no bees were found. I decided it was time to reduce my hive entrance and let the bees have the rest of the honey frames.

Now that the nectar flow has finished, it is time to begin feeding and checking for mites. I will not begin mite treatments until the end of August/ beginning of September but with the cease of the nectar flow, it is very important that I supply my bees with food as soon as possible. I will also want to prevent robbing as best I can by closing off any upper entrances and reducing the main entrance.

Entrance Reducer

I will be using a hive top feeder and a sugar water feed for the fall that will consist of a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. Other suitable methods of feeding your bees would be: pollen patties, fondant or high fructose corn syrup. I want to include a feeding stimulant to insure my bees will be healthy going into the winter months, therefore, I need a liquid solution for feeding my bees.

Combined ingredients together and mixed in a 1 gallon jug. Added 4 tbsp of Honey B Healthy and ensured that all the sugar had dissolved.

Bees at Entrance

Out at my hive, the entrance appeared very crowded but nothing threatening was happening. No signs of robbing was a relief but I was intrigued at all the activity that was happening at the entrance. When discussing the issue with another beekeeper, she said that newer bees will need to go on a navigation flight in order to orient themselves with their hive. They will fly out making loops back toward the hive and after every pass, they will extend their distance a little further.

Opened my hive and started to do a quick pass through my supers. I pulled out one of the outside frames in order to work toward the middle frames, and as I was checking the frame, I notice a small hive beetle crawling along the edge. I know that a strong colony will send them into hiding but every hive is bound to have one or two slip out and roam around, right? That was the only downside while going through my hive. Everything seemed normal and none of my bees appeared to be deformed or had bad wings.

Small Hive Beetle

After working my hive, I added the wooden hive top feeder and filled each side with my healthy sugar water mixture. Placed one end of the float down into the mixture and slowly lowered the other end. Floats fit perfectly and were floating properly.

Pouring Sugar Water Mixture

Dropping Float

Dropping Float

I know its not sweet nectar but I hope my girls enjoy their new diet. Having this hive top feeder will allow me to easily check and make sure the feed is topped off and add more if needed. 

Just taking care of my Girls!

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