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Summer Notes

What follows are various bits of advice and tidbits from the web regarding honey bee hive management in Summer. Where possible, notes are suited for my region in central Virginia (Varina, Virginia – just to the east of Richmond, Virginia.)

June

Last Splits : For me, the last time to do a split and not have to worry over it all Summer is early June. Sometimes, even then is a bit too late, if June is particularly dry.

July

Remove Supers : It is recommended to remove supers around July 15. Any honey kept for the Winter (for the hive) should be frozen.

1 Check This Month: I only check a hive once this month, unless it is one of my trouble hives or a starter from this  year. I like to check them towards the start of July, when I put the extracted (empty) honey supers back on the hives. It’s good to note exactly how much stores they have at this point so that you have something to compare with in August.

Start Feeding Late : When feeding, it is wise to start feeding right at dusk or even with a flashlight, if you have a feeder that will let you do that. Pouring syrup in the middle of the day can attract a lot of invaders and eventually create a robbing situation.

Entrance Reducers on Starters : Any starter hive that has not filled out its two supers for brood chambers (a Deep and a Medium in my case), should have an entrance reducer on them to help them guard the hive. There are a lot of strong hives out there coming off of a honey flow and looking for some free honey. If you have ’em, a Robber Screen is a great idea too.

Equipment Prep: July is a bit of a rest for me, as I am not actively going out to visit/break open the hives every week (I typically inspect a hive once every 2 weeks, but with all of the hives, I am out at least once every week…) If I have learned one thing about Spring, it is a huge plus to have prepped equipment at hand. July and August are great times for paint to dry, so I actively build out my supers and other equipment, painting them the entire month.

August

Last ditch feeding : Late August is the time when you need to do an assessment of your hive’s stores. Anything hive that is a bit light (or all of your small hives) needs a jolt of 2:1 syrup for the next 2 months, to enable them to really put the nectar away before Winter comes on. For my part, I rarely ever feed established hives at this point (only some of the ones that I started this year that were unable to build up in time.) The key is to leave enough of the real stuff (honey made from nectar) on the hives so that you do not have to worry about them starving!

4 comments to Summer Notes

  • Robert

    The two nucs i got from you are doing great !

    The other hives i have seem to be doing well

    I see in your blog about removing supers and feeding in august

    I have a fear of that as the gentleman that lives close to me has two hives a few hundred feet away

    He removed a super last week and looked threw his hives

    I seen later that day looked to be the biggest war of bees on all my hives thousands of dead ones on the ground and his also

    With mountains of bees still trying to get in my hives fighting and killing

    I lost thousands of bees i hooked up a sprinkler really fast and seemed to stop it

    Will feeding in August start that again ?

    I sit and wonder why mine were under attack i had no feeders on

    I do have screen bottoms that i see a few sniff around at times but no major attacks

    I did later find out he couldnt get all the bees off his super and drove them around in his truck up and down the street out front trying to lose them

    I never heard of that most likely has anyone else

    Did those bees just attack mine because he stirred his up

    Im really lost

    I do have supers on a couple of mine that i havent removed yet

    The two hives i got from you have a super and the Ross rounds on them

    I always heard that the Ross rounds comb were hard to get the bees to work out

    But seems your bees liked them as the last time i peaked in their the the super and rounds were built with comb

    Guess the biggest Question is if i remove all supers now will i get the major attack again

    I was lucky i was home last time seen it and stopped it

    These days im very busy and get in late if it happens again i wont be home and fear lose of all hives

    I cant afford to lose 5 gal. buckets of bees again thats how bad it was

    As always John thanks for any help and for answering questions

    You have ben very helpful and the nucs you sell take right off

    You do a great job on your nucs before you sell them

    Thanks Robert

  • If you have supers on your hives, you should not be feeding. Why have your bees make honey off of sugar syrup? Might as well buy chinese honey. Don’t feed unless you need to and never feed once you get your hives to build out their hive bodies – that simply leads to weak, worthless bees that will rarely amount to much.

    If you have hives that are being robbed out, I would recommend going into them (very late in the day, right before dark, to reduce the possibility of more robbing) and finding out what is wrong. Make sure they all look good and healthy. You can reduce the entrances too, but I don’t have that problem.

  • Robert

    Im not feeding
    I had wrote
    I see in your blog about removing supers and feeding in august
    That i had a fear of that
    After all mine were under attack

  • Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    To begin with, you only feed to help a hive that does NOT have enough stores. In my case, this pretty much only comes down to Overwintered Nucs and any cut-out’s that I do late in the year (when they do not have enough time to store enough honey.) If you have hives that are storing honey in supers, it necessarily means they have already filled out their main hive bodies (a Deep/Deep or Deep/Med or Med/Med/Med). So, you’re good to go.

    But, if you do have a scenario where Feeding is necessary, robbing is definitely something to watch out for. Definitely do NOT use a feeder that hangs on the side of the hive. These smell a bit more than feeding inside and attract more would-be robbers.

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