July is here and that means honey flow in your hive needs to be checked to determine if it’s time to harvest. A good way to monitor the honey flow is to periodically check the weight of the hive by hefting it from the back side once a week. You will notice when the hive is full or if the bees start eating up the stored honey. If you put your honey supers on at the beginning of June, then you may be able to extract honey now and put the super back on for another harvest at the end of July. A second option is to add another honey super right now and harvest the honey around August 1st.
Our goal in August is to let the bees have the honey. Remove honey supers and allow your hive the remainder of the season to fill up reserves down in the brood boxes. You have to be a good judge of how much honey you need to leave for the colony to survive our long and wet winters.
Once honey is extracted, create a hive treatment plan. However, you should be monitoring mite levels throughout July as colonies can be lost to Varroa by mid-August. You should apply treatments no later than August 15th so your winter bees are raised with minimal exposure to mites and mite-borne diseases. If applied properly, you should not have to treat for mites until early spring next year.
It is also a good idea to feed a round of pollen (protein patties) to get more young bees to overwinter. The bees being raised at this time will raise the “super bees” that will overwinter and ensure the colony survives until spring. Protein is the integral nutrient those bees need to store in their bodies to accomplish such a feat.
Here at Shonnard’s we have mite treatments and protein patties, as well as honey extractor rental and honey extraction supplies. Please call if you have any questions on this process or products.
See you at our Hive Management Post Honey class on July 15 at 11am! Register for the class here, give us a call, or come in-store to sign up.