We are a diverse bunch of individuals who share a fascination for the honey bee and its workings. Our members range from full-time beekeepers and pollinators with hundreds of hives to hobbyists involved in backyard beekeeping.
Some members do not even keep bees, but are fascinated by the six legs and four wings of Apis mellifera.
The Mission of the Central Oregon Beekeeping Association (COBKA) is to promote effective, economic and successful regional beekeeping through education, collaboration, communication and research in the spirit of friendship.
September in the Apiary
Well, it’s been a hot and long summer for the girls, a good summer. What's next? It looks like our Bend summer nectar dearth will soon be starting up, after the rabbit brush finishes up.
For bees, winter starts now... good stores, healthy winter bees being raised to take the hive through the winter cold...so, what can we, the beekeeper do in September for the girls?
September management in a nutshell: Varroa under control & reducing hives down to winter configuration. Accessing food stores and feeding if needed. Note: You don't want to pull the supers too close to winter as the girls will need time to make adjustments of stores in their new, smaller home. September allows them a little adjustment time.
Mite treatments should be finished up by now so that the winter bees being created will be strong for the long cold months ahead. If you have wanted to treat for varroa, but just haven't yet, the cooler weather (low 80's, mid 70's) and lower brood production makes using (organic) Mite Away Quick Strips (7 day treatment), and Thymol still possible. For varroa monitoring I like the sugar roll but here are a number of options. Also, check out this Varroa Mite Alert from the Honey Bee Lab. The main thing is to know your mite load, know your hive stores, and set them up for success. One other note: this time of year is critical to bee colony preparation. Although we want to manage all of these aspects of bee health, it is good to keep in mind that for the girls, this is almost final preparation for winter. Don't tear into hives aggressively, but accomplish what you need to with as little disruption to the hive as possible. Also, (geeze, always 'one more thing'!) expect that bees may get a bit defensive this time of year. They have their whole survival enveloped in their prepared hive. Expect them to defend it.
Well, there’s so much more to talk about, but that will have to wait till next month!
Hope this is helpful to all of our beekeepers out there in Central Oregon. Let's get our girls in great shape NOW for enduring the coming winter...so we can return the favor of the joy they give us during the warm summer days of their presence.
Info from OSBA, Honeybee Biology and Beekeeping by Dewey Caron, honeybeesuite.com, OSU Honey Bee Lab, Honey Bee Health Coalition and Kim's personal 'School of Hard Knocks'
Many thanks to Kim Rivera for these September notes!!