Beekeepers are finishing up getting their honey pulled off the hive. The nectar flow is over. It is time to get the honey off and prepare the hive for winter.
Mite treatments need to be applied NOW. The bees are starting to make winter bees right now. It is the winter bees that overwinter in the hive. For a hive to overwinter, the winter bees need to be as mite free as possible.
The queen is slowing down egg laying. The hive population is decreasing. With this decrease in population, leads to a massive increase in mite population. If you did a mite check in early August and found two mites, a mite check today may yield mite counts of five mites or higher.
Having a low mite count is the key to overwintering success. Keeping high mite counts through mid September can cause irreparable damage to your winter bees. Hives with damaged bees usually die by February. The hive usually dies from a virus. The Varroa mite is a vector for viruses. The parasite weakens the bees and brings out viruses that normally lie dormant in the bees. As time goes on more and more bees succumb to the virus.
It is time to get your work done. Mite treatments, then finish feeding. The hive you save may be your own.