Do my bees have enough food for winter?

Checking hives for weight, this hive is not heavy enough. We just pulled 2 supers full of honey off this hive, so lets see what is going on! A couple of things we see. There is lots of brood, no pollen stores, bees are just starting to back fill. This colony lost their queen mid summer. They look strong, but don’t have the 80-100 lbs of honey to get through the winter. We will let them clean extracted honey frames, and watch them to see if they need fed. This time of year we don’t want to encourage robbing so we will top feed. 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. We did a mite check and found that mite loads weren’t excessive but high enough to warrant treating them. We’ll walk you through treating and adding a pollen patty.

The mite treatment we like for fall is Api Life Var. It is thyme, eucalyptus, and menthol, and acts as an irritant. It is a 3 dose treatment, it doesn’t penetrate brood cells so it will need to be done 3 times every 7 to 10 days to get a complete brood cycle. We think that this is part of the reason that it is as effective for us in the fall. We generally start our first treatment around the end of August or first part of September depending on the year. When the bees are starting to think winter, starting to back fill and population is just starting to decline. We add a pollen patty now if they don’t have enough food, and we will feed if needed (we don’t want to stimulate them, just feed them).  Our goal is for the bees raising the winter bees to be healthy. We will do a mite count before and after treating so we know if we need to treat, and then the mite count 2 weeks after treating lets us know if our treatment worked.

If I have colonies that I can’t get back to for 3 treatments (sometimes we can’t get back to Malad every week in September) then we use a 1 dose Formic Pro.

If we monitor for mites and find that we have an ineffective treatment or a reinfest, we will use oxalic acid drizzle in late October/November as a clean up.

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