This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

Search This Blog

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Time to Winterize the bees?

 While we have experienced a bout of winter weather, putting winter covers on is not paramount at this time. While it is on the cool side, the bees can handle 30 degree weather with no stress. The future weather still has a warmup in the future, of into the forties. I am holding off on covering my hives until I do my Oxalic Acid treatment. I would like it to be 40 degrees out to make my treatment. But having said that, it would not be negative to cover the hives and finish any winter prep. The bees will not take any more syrup at these cool temperatures. 

Here are a couple video's of using different types of winter covers:

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Oxalic Acid EPA Label

 Here is a link through Bee Culture Magazine about Using Oxalic Acid for fall Varroa mite treatment.


The link below is to the EPA Label about Oxalic Acid.

Oxalic Acid EPA Label

The EPA Label states how to properly use Oxalic Acid for the treatment of Varroa mites on Honey Bees. The label lists all the hazards in using the product and the use of the proper PPE. The one thing that is murkey is the dosage. Being it is scientific and not used for baking a cake, all of the mixtures are by weight or by metric volumes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The weather is turning a corner brrr, time for the last mite treatment

 The weather looks like it is turning colder, maybe for the duration. Feeding colonies will becoming much harder to do. The bees maybe reluctant to take down syrup when it gets cold. The bees do not like to ingest cold syrup. It may work to put warm syrup on the hive during the warmest part of the day. The bees may take it down, but as the syrup cools, the bees may stop taking the syrup down.

 October is the time of year to treat hives with Oxalic Acid for a last varroa mite treatment. Oxalic acid is used this time of year when there is no brood in the colony. The lack of brood in a colony, give the varroa mite no place to hide and any Varroa in the hive are located on the bodies of the bees. With no capped brood to hide in, the Varroa mites are easily killed by the Oxalic acid treatment. Beekeepers who have fed late into fall, may still have a couple frames of brood in their colonies, making Oxalic treatments less effective. 

Oxalic acid should be done when the outside temperature is 40 degrees at the time of treatment. It can warm up later in the day, but at the time of treatment it should be forty degrees. Here is a couple videos on how I treat my bees with the dribble method and using a vaporizer.

Dribble Method
Vaporizer method

Friday, October 2, 2020

Where are we in the bee season

October 2nd today. Time is slipping away to finish our bee work. By now you should have treated for mites and fed the bees to get the hive heavy for winter. 

In a perfect world, right now the top box on the hive should have eight full frames of honey and one partially filled frame located about in the center of the top box. The box below the top box should have four full frames of honey. If your hive has this much honey, that should be ample food stores for the winter. 

 If your hive does not have that much honey in the top box, but your lower box is heavy with honey, the honey needs to be put on top of the hive. Bees do not move down to get honey in winter. A hive can starve even though the bottom box is full of honey.

 The weather will be perfect for feeding starting on Sunday. You can feed to top off the hive if the bees need it. Use a hive top feeder or several pails to get the feed in.

Three feeder pails can fit in a deep for feeding large quantities of syrup quickly.

Entrance reducers should be in right now at their biggest opening. Mice will start moving in with the cooler weather. 

Nothing else to do at the moment. Looking ahead, Oxalic Acid treatments should be applied in late October when it is 40 degrees at the time of treatment. Oxalic Acid works best when the hive is broodless. Winter covers can go on anytime after Halloween.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


 If your hive needs feeding you have to do so now. The weather is changing next week with highs in the 50's. When it cools off the bees don't take the syrup down very well. If you have a colony that is light today, there may not be another opportunity like the present to get they colony fed up before it stays cold for the duration. 

Hive top feeders with ProSweet is the best way to feed your colony syrup in the fall.

Friday, September 18, 2020

New Floor In Honey House

We extracted all our honey, cleaned off all the equipment and the floor. Then we brought in a high pressure hot water power washer to a total floor clean up. Dried the place out for a few days with a dehumidifier. Then Tom from Nature's Nectar LLC came over and prepped the floor, then applied an epoxy coating on the floor. It turned out great. Tom also has a painting business and he does all interior, exterior painting and staining and garage floors. Now we will be ready for next years honey season.

The floors turned out great. I will put in the trench grates when the floor is ready to use. I will wait 48 hours with the door open and a big fan running before I reoccupy the honey house.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Time to finish


 Goldenrod is waning, Asters are blooming. Asters are the last show in town. But for most of us the nectar flow is over. If you haven't treated for mites do so now. Not treating for mites will more than likely lead to a dead colony by springtime. For some of us, if you haven't treated for mites yet, the bees could be so damaged they may not make it to January. 

Winter Food stores. Right now a hive should have 8 full frames of honey and one partial frame of honey in the top brood box. The box underneath the top box should have about 4 frames of honey. If your hive has this much honey, it should be ample for the winter food stores. If feeding is needed get the feeders on now. Hive top feeders are the best feeders for fall and I highly recommend them. As long as the temperatures are in the upper 60's and low 70's the bees will readily take down syrup. But as the fall turns cooler, the bees will be reluctant to take down syrup, so get the feeding done now.

If you are done treating for mites, entrance reducers can be put in the hive entrance at the widest opening. This can help to prevent robbing. The weather is cooling down for the near term, and even a couple days in the low 70's will not spur any overheating of the colony.

Looking ahead, Oxalic Acid mite treatments happen in late October when hives become broodless. Winter covers are put on colonies anytime after October 31st.