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Beginner Beekeeping – Week 4

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Presentation on theme: "Beginner Beekeeping – Week 4"— Presentation transcript:

1 Beginner Beekeeping – Week 4
Fall Management

2 What’s Your Mite Count? Economic Thresholds
Natural drop < per day (3 day avg.) Alcohol shake – 7 mites per 300 Sugar shake – 4 mites per 300 (1/2 cup)

3 What if my mid-season count is too high or I’m seeing deformed wings?
Consider treating during the August “dearth” (we’ll get to how in a few minutes) Site the hive, or prune to get maximum sunshine on the hive Sun helps reduce both varroa and nosema

4 Fall Management Combining Hives

5 Why combine hives? To save the bees in a weak hive
To re-queen a queenless hive To unite a late season swarm with a strong colony

6 Weak hives In the fall, a hive may not have thrived due to many factors and has a low chance of surviving the winter A hive may be queenless, and too small to justify re-queening (or it’s too late in the season)

7 A Captured Swarm If you catch a late season swarm, it may be too small to survive the winter Hive the swarm Let it settle, then combine (in a week or two)

8 Assess hive strength Is the population low (i.e. not filling out the brood boxes)? Good rule: 6 frames with brood in September Are honey stores low? Tilt or pick-up the hive. Check frames. If you see many empty ones and it is light to lift, it may be a candidate Is the queen weak? See week 3 but spotty brood pattern, many drones.

9 How to combine Unite weak to strong. Two weak hives does not equal a strong hive, it equals a bigger weak hive. If you have two weak hives, then it is better to create nucs. The smaller colony has a better chance of survival. Pick a day when the temp is above 60 and then temps won’t fall below 50, otherwise the bees will cluster

10 How to combine You will need to kill the weaker queen first
Reduce the size of both hives by removing empty frames, moving fuller frames (honey, pollen, bee bread), into consolidated box You may not be able to reduce the hive to 3 mediums or two deeps. You can over- winter with more boxes provided they have resources in each box.

11 How to combine You can’t just put the hives together because they will fight Need to gradually combine Newspaper method

12 Newspaper combine

13 Combining 3 boxes

14 Newspaper method

15 Newspaper combine Remove inner and outer covers from receiving hive (stronger one) Place a single sheet of newspaper over the top of this hive (on top of bars), making sure that the paper overlaps the edges. Cut a few slits in the newspaper. This allows the bees to become accustomed to the other hives smells

16 Newspaper combine Cover the top box as you would any hive, but add a feeder. This hive may lose its field force due to the move so you will need to feed it. Cover as you would any other hive. Leave it alone for a week. Check it. The newspaper should be chewed through and the hives happy together

17 Consolidate After another week, inspect the hive and see if you can reduce it further. The goal is one hive with normal number of boxes. But, if all the boxes are full of bees, brood and food, over-winter it like that. You can split it in the spring, requeen the split and have a new hive!

18 Mite Treatments, Chemical
Apistan (fluvalinate) Checkmite (coumaphos) Amitraz/Apivar Hivastan Mites quickly develop resistance – all we’re doing is breeding stronger mites. Studies are showing sub-lethal negative effects on brood viability and queen health. Please, just don’t.

19 “Natural” or Soft Treatments
Follow label instructions and the following products are very safe and very effective. Each has different limitations, so decide what works best for your life Do it for the next generation of beekeepers

20 ApiLifeVar (Thymol and Menthol)
(not to be confused with ApiVar) Tablet form – works with vapors 3 treatments, 7-10 days apart Put wafers on top box top bars Close up holes and reduce the entrance Put in your inspection board It can make the bees a bit testy Treat with honey supers off (and don’t put them back on for a month.) Use when daytime temps are between 54-95° Menthol treats tracheal mites

21 Apiguard (Thymol) Gel form in a tray – bees clean it out and it gets all over them 2 treatments, 14 days apart Put above top box top bars with a shim so bees can get into the tray Put in inspection board Bees may cluster on the front of the hive Treat with honey supers off (they can go back on when you’re done) Use when daytime temps are between ° Treat for tracheal mites with grease patties, or keep Russian bees and don’t worry so much.

22 Mite Away Quick Strips (Formic Acid)
Slow release of (stinky) vapors in a gel strip 1 treatment, works for 7 days Put 2 pads on top bars between brood boxes Recommended for hives 6 brood frames strong Leave ventilation open Treat with honey supers on if you want (formic acid occurs naturally in honey) Use when daytime temps are between 50-92° Treat for tracheal mites with grease patties, or keep Russian bees and don’t worry so much.

23 Oxalic Acid Dire warnings about safety to the beekeeper kept me away There is no approved on-label application for the state of Maine Hopguard Just approved last summer Results look very positive, but it is expensive and challenging for people with 2-3 hives.

24 Honey Harvest! Typical fall harvest happens between Labor Day and September 20th Now is the time to start getting your hive set for winter Repositioning frames – for winter we want honey top and sides and brood centered below A top hive body of capped brood will most likely emerge and those cells will be filled with honey

25 Getting the bees out: Shake or brush Escape boards Fume boards
Dramatic but quick and efficient Escape boards Convenient if you have the extra day or two Fume boards Works great if it’s sunny and warm Wear gloves and a veil!

26 Extracting Honey Please don’t crush and strain – your bees worked too hard for this. Borrow the Club Extractor If you’re going to sell honey – apply for a Home Processor License, Dept. of Agriculture Consider hiring a pro

27 Uncapping and spinning
Use a hot knife, or a cold knife in a pan of simmering water If using a tangential extractor, spin the first side slowly, then the second side, then go back and re-do the first; get maximum honey without blowing out combs

28 Beeswax Don’t waste it – put burr comb in the freezer and add it to your cappings wax Don’t use your good pots for wax – get cheap ones and dedicate them to wax Cover sticky wax with water; heat till it’s all liquid; pour through an old t-shirt into a bucket; let it settle and cool Dry and re-melt the disk in a double boiler and filter through paper towels.

29 Other hive products to consider
Propolis – has amazing health properties Pollen – super food, and in huge demand for allergy relief (We’ll buy your frozen pollen!)

30 Fall Feeding Medicate or not? (I don’t.) Why are we feeding?
Feed 2:1 syrup to hives low on stores It should be their fault, not yours At least 1 deep or 2 mediums of capped honey on top at Thanksgiving (with at least 3 weeks to cure.) Stop feeding by mid-October Honey is healthier Feed back frames above inner cover After nectar flow Extract unfinished honey and feed it back Consider feeding pollen if a hive is behind or unhealthy

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