The Apiary Year – October

By October much of the hard work is over and thus you are wondering what to do next. well sit down, spoon your new honey over your breakfast cereal and read this for there are many tasks still to do in the Apiary.

Complete feeding with syrup
This is the last time in the year when you can feed the bees with syrup. The syrup recipe is here. The bees will take the syrup down into the hive. They store it in the cells where they will do their best to evaporate the water. This will produce a firm sugar. This means they can store more food stores and the sugar will not ferment. After this month it will have to be fondant that you feed them.

Complete Varroa treatment
By the end of the month the Varroa treatment should be complete and all containers/strips should be removed from the hive. Once the temperature drops as low as it does by the end of the month then the treatment does nothing.

Keep emptying wasp traps
This year there have been an unbelievable number of wasps and I have emptied the wasp traps many times. When I do empty them I always go through the contents just to check that I am only catching wasps and that I have not caught any Asian Hornets. This year it has just been wasps – in vast numbers.

Add mouse guards to hive entrance
Once the bees are not bringing back any pollen then it is time to put on the mouse guards. I delay putting them on until this moment as the sharp metal edges to the holes in the mouse guards can knock the pollen from the bees – and it is difficult enough to find any at this time of the year.

Insulate the hives
The National Hive is not the warmest place to spend a cold winter. There has been a lot of research into the effect of insulation on the bees. Investigations have centred on how well the bees survive the winter and how quickly they start to develop the following spring. The impression I have from the literature I have seen is that it is a good idea and well worth doing. There is a simple set of instructions here.

Well when you thought there was nothing to do you now have the list of apiary tasks for October. Perhaps next month will be quieter.