August Tips

This year (2022), August started out in the 60-degree range in East Jefferson County, WA, and by mid-month was in the 70s, up to 86 degrees or so. Swarming from overcrowded and overflowing honey bee hives was still going on at the beginning, tapering off as the month progressed. Toward the latter half, it will be essentially too late to start a new hive in the apiary…..although beekeepers with queens in reserve may consider requeening of some colonies for winter survival.

In this year of unusual weather patterns that pushed flowering and fruiting seasons out of ordinary patterns, the bees were finding

  • lots of “yellow” forage by mid-month–sunflowers, rudbeckia, dandelions, fennel and dill, old-fashioned marigolds and coreopsis
  • along with the pinks and purples of fireweed in the hills, cosmos in gardens, blue gilia and purple artichokes and ever-present borage, and
  • white to pinkish leeks and pearly everlasting after this year’s late bloom of blackberries ended..….

…all shared with the multitudes of wasps, bee-flies, butterflies, and other native pollinators.

Beekeepers have a lot on their calendars for August, including honey harvest, mite control, requeening (an option), planning ahead for potential autumn dearth, and managing for robbing and aggressive wasps and hornets that are just now making their belated appearance in local bee-yards.

For the Beekeeper, Some August Tips:                                    

  • Begin to make daily mite-drop counts to monitor infestation levels. High levels should be followed up with the alcohol mite-wash technique of your choice.
  • Before you start removing honey frames for extraction, have large plastic boxes with tight-fitting lids ready to receive the frames and avoid attracting bees and wasps to your site. Do your extraction indoors, with bees excluded.
  • After extracting honey from the frames, set the frames back in the hive in early evening ON TOP of the inner cover for the bees to “clean up.”  You can also add any processing equipment such as strainer bags, bowls and sieves using another deep hive body as a container, with an outside cover.  The bees will clean up all the honey and wax, minimizing your own cleaning chores.

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