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Hot Tips

September

  • Time to feed the colony for the winter, replacing the honey taken. Feed continuously with standard strength sugar syrup (1 kg added to one pint of water). The colony will need at least 15kg of syrup (more for the bigger hives) to take it through the cold months ahead.
  • Feeding needs to be completed before the end of the month to give the colony time to drive off the excess water.
  • varroa treatment should be considered.
  • Fit a mouse guard to the hive entrance.
  • At the beginning of October heft the hives to check that they are all heavy. If not, continue feeding.

October, November, December

  • At the beginning of October heft the hives to check that they are all heavy. If not, continue feeding.
  • With all the required food now in the brood chamber, all should be well for winter.
  • Strap or weigh down the roof against winter wind.
  • Make sure the hive slopes gently forwards so that rain will not run into the entrance.
  • If green woodpeckers are in your area, protect the hives by putting wire netting round all four sides.
  • Monitor the now small entrance regularly for the build up of dead bees. Bees are dying all the time and just a few can block the entrance leaving the others unable to get out for water or toileting.
  • Keep a regular check for woodpecker damage or rain getting in.
  • Be aware that deer or other animals could knock the hive over rubbing against to satisfy an itch.
  • Feeding should not be required yet, but keep an emergency block of fondant available just in case. Most of the colonies that die out do so because of starvation.