It still feels like summer, but winter is coming. In the garden, tall autumn sunflowers are opening, cosmos and marigolds continue their glorious bloom, fall asters are coming on, but other beds are fading fast with flowers gone to seed.
In town, English ivy flowers can provide one of the last good forage crops for the bees at the end of September, while in rural areas, there will be an autumn dearth. It’s time to ready both garden and apiary for the change of seasons.
Making sure your hives are well fed and treated for varroa mites, and that the colonies are strong, will help your bees survive to greet the spring.
For the beekeeper, some September tips:
- One method to store frames over winter is to stack 5 or 6 boxes of frames with a top, and with a paper plate strewn with about 6 tablespoons of “PARA-MOTH” insecticide crystals paced in the topmost box to discourage wax moths.
- PARA_MOTH is safe for honey bees. DO NOT use naphthalene mothballs!!
- Use appropriate PPE when handling the crystals.
- Check every 3 to 4 weeks and replenish crystals as needed—they dissapate.
- Be sure to air out the frames before using them in hives again.
- If you treat hives with Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS), be sure to seal off the screened bottom board. Please follow package instructions carefully regarding daytime temperature requirement, number of days to treat, etc. MAQS can be used with honey supers on and will not harm honey.
- Melt wax off the queen excluder to keep it clean and open to traffic, collecting the wax on a paper towel to use as a fire-starter in your woodstove or barbecue.
My 25-year-old smoker had just not been working all that well for a couple of years. It is an older style from Mann Lake, and the bellows assembly is still available as a separate unit….so I...