Beekeeping Tips for August
by Todd Balsiger
- August is a difficult time to work bees - it is hot and the bees have a strong inclination to rob. But there are vital tasks to be done that will greatly increase the odds for winter survival that we must do.
- Remove all supers and configure colonies into winter configuration (generally two deeps). Do this regardless of how populous you think your colony is!
- Treat for varroa in early August - the latest you should delay is the 15th. Our objective is to raise a healthy crop of winter bees. Some of our mite treatments are hard on the bees too, and that is partly why it is important to begin your treatments early so that they have time to recover.
- Treat for foulbroods by dusting hives at intervals with either Tylosin or Terramycin. Follow the directions.
- Find queenless hives and requeen with a nuc or close them down.
- Be cognizant of the problem of robbing at this time of year. It is best to prevent robbing. Once it begins, it's hard to stop. Try to work quickly, and at either ends of the day (morning/evening) when there is diminished flight. If you only have a few hives, this probably won't be a problem.
- As usual, keep a lookout for American foulbrood. Inspect weak hives and find out why they're in that condition. Weak hives (which could be caused by AFB) are prime candidates to be robbed.
- Extract as soon as possible after removing supers. Wax moths are very active at this time of year and will quickly find brood and pollen in supers. Wax moths and their larvae are a nuisance during extraction - best to avoid them altogether.
- Provide water continuously if the bees don't have access to it.