In general, what’s going on during the month of August?
Bees are rearing brood, but storing little honey due to lack of nectar sources. Bees need water to cool the hive so make sure they have a water source within one-half mile. This is also the time for bees to try to rob honey from other hives due to the dearth of nectar. If you have more than one hive, don’t open a hive for more than a few minutes. Monitor your hives for fighting bees at the entrances.
Varroa mites are a serious threat this month. They have been reproducing since spring. Perform varroa mite counts on your hives now if you haven’t already. Treat if counts exceed 3 mites per 100 bees.
In preparation for winter weak hives should be united with stronger ones.
Local conditions in the Louisa County Virginia area and recommendations
Heavy rains in June washed away nectar and cooler temperatures prevented bees from flying many days causing bees to consume nectar they had already stored. Checks of honey supers this July revealed a lack of capped honey with many hives producing none.
On inspections take note if the hive is queen-right, the amount of honey stores, and the amount of pollen stores. Feed sugar syrup at 1:1 if needed. Offer pollen substitute if pollen stores are lacking.
Check hives for varroa mites. Sugar roll and alcohol wash methods are recommended for the most accurate counts. Mites counted on screened bottom boards are the least accurate. Make plans to purchase and use an effective treatment.
Feed supplements to prevent Nosema and reduce stress. Nosema is associated with Colony Collapse Disorder. Feeding Fumagilin-B or Nozevit Plus several times this fall in sugar syrup will ensure the winter bees (the bees that emerge this fall and live approximately 6 months) will be more likely to survive till spring.
Top Bar Hives: Make sure you have 12 to 15 brood combs completed to get through winter. Feed to encourage comb and brood production if you don’t have enough completed combs.