July in the Apiary

So summer is in full swing and all you want to do is lay out in your hammock with a cool beverage and watch the world go by.  Well, hold on beekeeper.  There is a heap of work to be done this month to ensure your bees are happy and healthy.

The first task is to ensure your colonies are queenright while queens are still available for purchase.  Or, for beekeepers who have thought ahead they can simply requeen a colony from the nuc they started in the spring.  Matt Allen of Apricot Apiaries just conducted an excellent presentation on this subject.  He calls the nuc a “bee first aid kit”.  I call it a spare tire.  Whatever you call it is a nice insurance policy against losing a queen and not being able to find a replacement. Never mind the cost.

All is not lost if you find you have a queenless or laying worker colony.  You can simply combine it with a queenright colony using the newspaper method.  This technique can also be used to combine a weak colony with a strong one.  Never combine two weak colonies together.  How do you know the difference between a strong and weak colony?  One method is to count the number of bees entering the hive for one minute. A number between 30 and 90 represents a strong colony. 

 So far our summer temperatures have been fairly mild but as they rise you may experience bearding on your hives.  Bearding is the colony’s method of cooling the hive.  A large number of bees emerge from the hive and hang out on the boxes thus lowering the temperature inside the hive.  Some people panic thinking the colony is about to swarm but that is not the case.  You can help your bees cool the hive by increasing ventilation.  Propping up the inner cover with the sticks from the Popsicles you just ate or adding a screened bottom board will do the trick.

How are your honey supers doing?  As this month progresses honey production may begin to taper off.  If you have an empty super sitting atop your hives you should probably remove it before month’s end.  Speaking of removing supers most mite treatments require they be removed before treating.  The mite populations are climbing now so you should be monitoring your hives to determine whether or not to treat.  The Honey Bee Health Coalition has excellent information and videos on the various treatment options. 

Lastly, as we enter the dearth season it is important to monitor your hives for any signs of robbing, either from bees of another colony or yellowjackets.  Once robbing begins it is very difficult to stop so a good preemptive strategy is to mount robbing screens on your hives beforehand.  Robbing screens can also serve as excellent mouse guards in the fall. 

So with all of the above accomplished you can feel comfortable getting back to your hammock and enjoy that cool one.  Since a lot can be learned from simply watching bees come and go from the hive entrance your apiary may be the ideal resting spot.

Big thanks to Clyde Dildine for writing this month's notes!

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COARC Saturday in the Apiary
07 Jul 2018 10:00 AM • COARC (Madras)

COBKA Hive Inspection Demonstration
09 Jul 2018 2:00 PM • (Bend)

COBKA Hive Inspection Demonstration
10 Jul 2018 2:00 PM • (Bend)

COBKA Hive Inspection Demonstration
11 Jul 2018 2:00 PM • (Bend)

COBKA July Club Meeting
with Dr. Ramesh Sagili
24 Jul 2018 6:00 PM • Bend Enviro Center

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