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.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

The big freeze

The freeze Minnesota just experienced while a relief to hay fever sufferers, did not help the beekeepers.
This was the first time in maybe 15 years I was getting a Golderod flow. The Goldenrod plants seemed very numerous and the blooms seemed very thick. The bees were working it and bringing in nectar and pollen. Two of my beeyards smelled like old sweatsocks. That would be Goldenrod nectar. The honey is a little darker than clover but it has a nice flavor.
The freezing temperature may have killed many nectar and pollen producing plants that would have helped round out the colonies with a little more free food and pollen before sustained cold weather takes over.
As a beekeeper I have to make sure that my colonies have ample stores now, while the bees will still take down syrup. The later in the season it gets, as it starts to cool down the bees seem reluctant to take down cold syrup. Also, feeding spurs brood production. The later feed is on the hive the later brood is in the colony. Feeding into late October means there will be brood in the colony almost until Thanksgiving. Having brood late in the season forces a colony to deplete their winter stores and increases Varroa population.
Feeding now will give them the time to fill up for the winter and if everything goes right, an overwintered colony to divide in the spring.