Happy Halloween month! In October, the queens should be slowing down their brood production, but unusually warm weather seems to have encouraged them to keep on laying the full quota of eggs. A drop in temperature and maybe some rain might make the difference.
Meanwhile, foragers are still busy bringing in pollen, and if they find any honey exposed, they’ll likely start a robbing riot.
For the beekeeper, some October tips:
- Put your extracted honey frames on top of the inside cover for the bees to clean up.
- Do this only in the evening to avoid robbing
- Immediately put a wet towel over the top of the hive with the frames to clean up, and let it hang down in front of the hive entrances. Be careful that the resident bees can still get in out of their entrance hole.
- You can test the moisture of your honey by using a refractometer (there are several models available).
- Calibrate the refractometer before use.
- Spread 2-3 drops of honey on the prism plate and close the plastic daylight cover. Only a small amount of honey is required, but make sure the plate is completely covered.
- Hold under a light source and look through the eyepiece to read the scale.
- Clean prism plate with a damp cloth between uses.
- If you need to dehydrate the honey, place it in 1-gallon buckets, uncovered, and set buckets in a small clean room that you can close off from traffic and keep consistently warm at about 85ᵒ to 95ᵒF.
- Use a fan or heater/fan combination to keep warm dry air passing over the buckets.
- Stir 2-3 times/day.
- After about a week, moisture should drop by 1%-2%.