As those nights draw in and the chill of Autumn is in the air, it’s time to get the colonies fed ready for the long winter ahead.
Most of us will have taken off our summer honey crop and reduced the hives down to one Brood chamber with a Queen Excluder and Eke or empty Super, with a Crown Board on top.
This is the month you can still feed syrup to the hives as they have the time to reduce the water content further and seal it in the cells and in doing so ensures it does not ferment.
There are several containers/ feeders on the market and they all work well as long as they are sealed well; you reduce the front entrance; and you don’t spill any syrup on the ground or a feeding frenzy of robbing may start upsetting the entire Apiary
As explained last month, the following shows a strong hive with a Brood chamber of foundation above the Queen excluder which I will now feed a couple of gallons of syrup to over the next couple of weeks.
But as ever be aware you can over feed a single Brood chamber with great ease leaving no room for the Queen to breed.
I will heft my hives to estimate which ones need a good feed and then check to see if I have viable Queens. I recently found two more Drone Layers who last month were doing fine. Clearly bad mating during that extended June gap.
If you find the Brood chamber is full of Honey and Pollen, don’t feed them anything but put a super of drawn comb above the Queen excluder. The bees will then move Honey/Nectar into the super giving the Queen somewhere to lay those essential eggs which are the bees that will see them through the winter.
I’m told there are not many Varroa about this season so some people are not going to treat their hives. My advice is to check your slides over a period of a week and if you find more than ten Varroa treat and see what ‘fall’ of mites you get, but please don’t leave it to chance. If in doubt ask your mentor or a more experienced Apiarist.
Those of you who recently collected your Fondant from West’s Bakery in Wellesbourne village can slice a chunk off the ‘slab’ and put it above the Queen Excluder. There is no need to wait until next month.
As you can see from the pictures below, I’m treating a hive with evident DWV and a growing Varroa population at the same time as I’m feeding Fondant.
Further advice on Feeding full blocks of Fondant can be found elsewhere on the Web site.
Beware the wasps are still about. Keep recharging the wasp traps with whatever catches them in your Apiary. At the Association Apiary we seem to catch a good few European Hornets which are so big they are easy to allow to escape.
On the Asian Hornet front keep those traps out and keep those eyes peeled. They have been found breeding in Staffordshire and Kent so far this year.
Start of our winter indoor meetings soon at Luddington Village Hall. The first one is on ‘How your Season has Gone?’ Expect a few ‘tall stories’ …….