Jobs for the Month
- Reduce hive entrances to help the bees defend against wasps and robbing by other colonies
- If you haven’t already done so, set up wasp traps: a mix of beer and jam works well.
- Check hives carefully for gaps and small holes that could allow wasps or robbing bees to enter and plunder their stores: seal them up tightly.
- Finish taking off the honey harvest, clean extractor & equipment and store ready for next season.
- Check the bees have sufficient stores, clean & prepare feeders, buy in fondant/sugar/syrup.
- Carry out a thorough disease inspection – ask for help if concerns arise.
- Decide on your varroa treatment plan, buy in what you need – and use it properly! You must keep a treatment record.
- Unite small colonies if you consider them not robust enough to go through the winter, or if the queen appears to have disappeared or appears weak..
- Start reducing the number of supers on each hive: consolidate or put over the crown board for the bees to move stores down.
- Maintain vigilance for Asian hornet activity, setting traps or lures as necessary. Use the Asian Hornet Watch and inform the club’s AHAT of any sightings.
- Put empty supers and drawn comb into storage protected from wax moth.
- Clean and repair equipment before storing and make a list of needs & wants.
- Look back at your beekeeping season and take stock: what could you have done differently? better?
**Check out the Tip of the Month**
Suggested frequency of visits – weekly
August is a quieter month for the bees as in many areas the summer flowers are coming to an end and the nectar flow is diminishing or coming to an end – unless you have Himalayan balsam nearby or are taking your bees to the heather. There is still forage about: sunshine will encourage willow herb, blackberry, red clover, borage, golden rod and garden flowers such as rudbeckia which the bees will work enthusiastically whilst they last.
There is ivy still to come to provide a late season boost to stores but be mindful of your bees’ needs as we take our final honey harvest: that golden bounty has not been gathered for our benefit alone.
As the forage decreases, so will the laying rate of the queen and the brood area will decrease and fill up with winter stores. Drones are no longer needed and the workers will evict them from the hive, their focus now being on the winter bees. These bees are different for they stay largely within the hive all winter and do not pass beyond the nurse bee stage, meaning that their hypopharyngeal glands remain full of brood food ready for the spring rush of brood. The survival of the hive during that critical time in early spring is entirely dependent on these winter bees: for them to survive they must be well fed, healthy and free from varroa mites and the viruses they bring.
This means that, for the beekeeper, August will be a busy month with plenty to do. This is the month to take off your last honey crop, treat for varroa and start autumn feeding. It’s a time to take steps to prevent robbing by other colonies and wasps – reducing entrances, setting up wasp traps.
Maintain vigilance for Asian hornet activity: although the queens are confined to the nest at this time of the season, workers will be out looking for food and hawking around your hives. Baits should be protein (cat food/prawns) and changed regularly. Alternatively contact the SWHB AHAT for advise on other attractants such as Suterra.
It’s also a time for preparing equipment and comb for storage, for cleaning and repairing everything and for making a list of what you need to buy in the late season sales.