As the bee hives start slipping into late summer early fall mode this is whats going on.
The bees are making winter bees right now. Winter bees have a different physiology than summer bees. Winter bees have the ability to store more fat in their bodies for winter survival.
Beekeepers have been treating for mites and feeding their bees. Most beekeepers have pulled and extracted their honey. Mite treatments have been completed or are on the hive right now.
Right now is judgment time. To winter or not to winter, that is the question.
Beekeepers need to determine if weak colonies should be wintered, combined with other colonies or depopulated in late November.
To winter, a hive needs at least 8 frames of bees. Meaning if it was say 50 degrees out and you looked at your bees, they would be covering both sides of eight frames. It is hard to to make a judgement when the bees are everywhere in a colony on a warm day, short of it being obvious that they are packed with bees.
Weak colonies can be combined with other hives. The caution here is that a beekeeper does not want to add bees to an already strong colony. There is such a thing as too many bees. A colony with too many bees will eat their food stores and more than likely starve over the course of winter.
Two weak colonies can be combined together. One of the queens needs to be killed, then the colonies can be combined with the newspaper method.
Feeding: Any colonies that are light on food need to be fed NOW. As we move into fall and it starts to cool into the low 40's, the bees will not take down syrup.
Feed is 2:1 heavy sugar syrup or ProSweet bee feed. With sugar syrup, the bees need to dehumidify it and turn it into honey. This does take effort by the bees.
Feeding ProSweet is much easier on the bees. The bees can take down the syrup and put it in the cells and they are done. ProSweet is just similar to honey, it has fructose and sucrose.
These are the late chores that beekeepers need to complete very soon.