Friday, 25 September 2015

As summer becomes Autumn.

Well the days are getting shorter and colder, the leaves are starting to change colour and the flowers are starting to dwindle.

Autumn is fast approaching and with it the nectar flow will dwindle and the bees will spend less time flying. Less time flying and reduced nectar flow means less honey production for the bees and so we need to make sure that our colonies are strong enough and have sufficient enough stores to survive the winter season.

While there is a honey flow the bees are usually good tempered but with the end of summer fast approaching and less honey stores on your hives after your harvest you may find that your bees are a little more aggressive.

There are many tasks you can carry out this time of year...some which are essential to your bees having a good chance of making through the winter.

Queen Excluder.
Queen excluders should now be removed from the hives. These are put in place throughout the summer to ensure that the queen only lays eggs in the brood box so that honey is stored and can be extracted from the 'supers' throughout the main season. However with stores left on for the winter if you do not remover the queen excluder then the queen will not be able to move up and feed over the winter months and die. Dramatic but true!! If you have a feeder in place then excluders can also hinder the bees reaching the feed which you put on the hive.

Entrance block.
Entrance blocks should also be sorted out now.mOver the summer when the colonies are strong we can make the hive entrances larger to make access easier for the bees but with the colonies slowing down in preparation for cooler months these can now be put back in/turned round to make entrances smaller therefore making it easier for the bees to guard the hives from would be problems such as wasps, mice etc.

My hive block is plastic and came with my poly hive but they can also be wooden and you can make them yourself too which can give you the added advantage of being able to make as many holes as is suitable for your needs and the exact size you want.

Wasps are a real nuisance at this time of the year so it is also a good idea to set up some wasp traps and of you have any wasp nests nearby which are causing problems think about destroying them.

Now is also the time to give your hives a good check over, make sure your hive is sound and stable ready for the winter months. Remember broken lids and floors could lead to the demise of your bees over the winter as it will be harder for them to keep damp out and maintain a good temperature within the hive.

If you have your hive on stands make sure they are stable and if your hives aren't on stands make sure entrances are clear and will not become an issue if there is heavy rain for prolonged periods.

So these are the first steps to follow for Autumn...I will be back soon with some more helpful tips/reminders.