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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Monday, July 20, 2020

Nectar Flow Update

Do you still have a nectar flow? I have heard some beekeepers saying that their nectar flow has slowed.
 This is the time of year when nectar flows get spotty. For some beekeepers the nectar flow is over, other beekeepers still may be getting a nectar flow. Nectar flows are like real estate, location, location, location.
 As the nectar flow slows, we would like to fill the boxes we have on our hives. So adding more supers can slow down a bit. At this timing of the nectar flow, I usually make sure I have one mostly empty super at a time on the hive. I will go in and do a quick visual on the capped frames on my supers. If the outside frames of my supers are not capped, I usually will move these empty or uncapped outside frames to the center of the supers. This make the bees more inclined to fill the frames, if there is nectar available.
 Check the supers weekly, if the top box is filling up, then add another super. Nothing happening, check again in a week.
 The one thing I haven't talked about yet, is moisture content of the honey on the hive. The upper Midwest has experienced quite a few humid days. This could affect the moisture content of your honey. To be Grade A honey, the moisture content has to be 18.6% water content or less. During humid summers, high moisture honey is more common. High moisture honey will ferment over time.
Leaving honey on the hive is usually the best way to get the moisture down if the weather improves. Or, if the honey has to come off, the honey should be put in a room with a dehumidifier. A properly dehumidified space can lower the water content of honey before the honey is extracted. An air conditioned space in not adequate to dehumidify frames of honey. I use a commercial sized dehumidifier in my honey house. I try to get the humidity down to 40% in the room. I also run a fan. I leave the honey at least a week before extracting.
 If you have hive beetle in your hives, leaving them for more than three days off the hive, can get any beetles in the supers to start laying eggs on the honey frames. In a short time, the frames can have beetle larvae hatched out and damaging your honey. Having a room at 40% humidity, can help stop this from happening.
 As we come to the end of July, mite treatments should be on the minds of beekeepers. I believe that mite treatments should be put on the hives in early August. Waiting too long to treat your hives for mites, can result in poor overwintering results. Formic Acid is considered an organic treatment for Varroa mites. So it can be used anytime on a hive. Supers can be on while treating with Formic Acid. When Formic Acid is put on the hive, the first three days that it is on the hive, the daily temperatures have to be no greater than 85 degrees. So if you are going to treat with Formic Acid, keeping an eye on the weather for a window to put on the mite treatment is critical. If a window of perfect weather happens, a beekeeper needs to be ready to treat. Sometimes during a hot summer, there may only be one or two opportunities during August to use Formic Acid. So be prepared and watch the weather. Formic Acid is sold under two brand names, Formic Pro or Mite Away Quick Strips. Formic Pro has a long shelf life on any unused product, Mite Away Quick strips should be used during the season they are purchased, their shelf life is only a few months. Never use expired Formic Acid strips.