Beekeeping Tips for October
by Todd Balsiger
October is a transition month from fall to winter in our weather. Generally, the weather is relatively benign for the first two or three weeks, and then winter arrives in earnest by Halloween, or so. The maximum daily high temperature for Salem in October is 64.3oF; it is 52.3oF in November. This is our last opporutnity to feed syrup and finalize winter preparation before dormancy.
- Continue to check for light hives. Heft hives (lift one side up). They should be notablly heavy. If not, feed a saturated sugar solution (60% sugar; balance water by weight). Feed early enough to allow syrup to ripen.
- Because of Nosema apis and especially Nosema ceranae, feed two gallons of Fumadil-B medicated syrup. If feeding for weight, this medicated srup should be fed last.
- Place a barrier between the bottom of the hive and the ground. Pallets are ideal for this.
- Keep hives exposed to the sun with entrances faced away from prevailing winds.
- Tilt hives so water drains away from the entrance. Ensure proper ventilation and that lids do not leak.
- Add entrance reducers/mouse guards.
- All superfluous items within the hive, e.g., Varroa treatmetns, queen excluders, and extra rims, should be removed by now.
- Find and remove deadouts. Place all unused equipment in storage.
- Protect frames. Moth crstals (paradichlorobenzene) are typicall used for this purpose. Stack supers (or brood boxes), and put crystals on a piece of paper on top of every 5th super, or so. Then palce a lid on top. Vapors kill moths and larvae, but not eggs. Freezing is an option and will kill eggs. Also, wax moth activity is supressed if supers (and the frames within) are left open and exposed to light.
- If hives are opened/lids lifted late in the active season (or past), the propolis seals have been broken. Take care to secure the lids to keep them from being blown off during winter winds.