By the start of September all the honey you intend to extract should have been taken off the bees and whatever Varroa treatment you have decided to use placed on the hives.Those of you that have Varroa mesh floors with a slide to go underneath can see how the treatment is working but you may need a magnifying glass to spot the dam parasites. Please remember to remove the floor debris from the apiary or burn it in Newspaper in a safe and secure way.
The wasps have started to bother the bees so it is a good time to reduce the entrances the colonies have to defend especially if you have any small or weak colonies.I am afraid nature can be very harsh and if the wasps do not exterminate a weak colony other robber bees will do so. Once forced entry has been gained to the hive and the robbing frenzy has started there is little you can do to prevent it. Please reduce those entrances as we have at the Association Apiary to one single bee space if necessary.
The Internet has a wonderful array of wasp trap designs but any plastic or glass bottle filled with a liquid that attracts wasps but not bees will be sufficient. Remember to place the traps a few feet away from the hives as the worker wasps will soon find them and it will not attract them to the hive. You may have to refill the traps at least once a week by the end of the month
Once you have treated for Varroa it is a good time to get feeding the bees with cool syrup which has as little water in it as possible to save the bees having to fan away the excess water.The recommendation is 1 kG sugar to 630ml water but I find using hot water I mix it until all the sugar crystals dissolve. Feed your syrup once the bees have stopped flying in the evening and try not to spill any in the hive or on the ground or the wasps will find it and be back really early in the morning to start robbing what they can.
A strong colony of bees will need at least 20KG of stores for the winter and hopefully they will have collected sufficient pollen for breeding over the winter and into the spring before the snowdrops and crocus appear.(Good time to be planting these early pollen plants.) Those of you that the intend to use Bakers Fondant remember to leave your Queen excluders on so you can place the Fondant directly over the cluster in October. You will find a variety of advice about how to keep the Fondant soft so the bees can use it during the winter so if it is not wrapped in plastic or cling film(bee site needs to be plastic free) use a plastic tub with a couple of 2/3cm holes drilled in it so the bees can reach the Fondant. I find “take away” boxes or washing machine detergent plastic boxes fit the bill and prevent the fondant becoming a hard lump of useless sugar!
Most of you will have a stack of supers to store over the winter and I warn you that the mice just love to make a nest in them and soil everything – the smell is disgusting. Prevention as always is the the best cure, does not matter whether you store them inside or with a Queen excluder top and bottom and prevent bees and wasps getting in.
I always find the biggest spider I can and put it in the stack this seems to deal with the wax month especially if I am trying to over winter any sterilised brood comb.
So winter and the less active part of the season is on its way but ensure your hives are waterproof, well ventilated and if you wish insulated (old square of carpet works well). Next month you should unite weaker colonies and shut down the hives for the winter.
The Honey show is next month so put aside a couple of your best jars ready for the display.