Beekeeping Tips for September
by Todd Balsiger
- September beekeeping activities are a continuation of what we started in August:
- nest consolidation
- pest and disease control
- winter preparation
- Colonies should be in winter configuration -- too much space is a liability now.
- Check hives to make sure they are queenright, healthy, and have populations sufficient to overwinter. Small hives can be united.
- Check for adequate food stores -- heft hives (tilt one side up). They should be noticeably heavy. If not, feed for weight -- heavy sucrose syrup, 60% sugar by weight.
- Make sure that at least your last "weight" feeding contains Fumidil-B for Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae control. This should be in late September or early October. The idea is for the bees not to consume this medicated syrup immediately but to store it in the cells where the brood has hatched out for the last time this year. Feed two gallons.
- Finish bacterial brood and Varroa treatments. Retest for Varroa to insure efficacy of treatments. Always be on the lookout for American foulbrood.
- Insure that lids are water tight and that there is an upper ventilation hole. Dry bees can endure cold and survive, but if wet from leaky lids or condensation, they may not. Add entrance reducers/mouse guards.
- If possible have an ideal winter yard. An ideal winter yard is protected from wind and pockets of cold air, and exposed to the sun. Face hive entrances towards the sun and away from prevailing wind. Tilt hives so water drains away from the entrances.
- Try to prevent robbing. Don't keep hives open too long.
- Protect extracted supers from wax moths.
- Lastly, once your hive is set for winter, don't keep popping the lid off, for when it's cold the bees will be unable to re-glue the lid down. Use a heavy object if you do break the seals.