Charlie's monthly beekeeping calendar

Your monthly guide of beekeeping tips for you and your hives

July 19, 2022
To all SBA members,

The 2022 honey crop has been good so far. At this time, I have harvested 500 pounds of honey and I think there are two to three hundred pounds still in the supers. I am just waiting for the bees to cap the honey frames so I can harvest the rest.

The main nectar flow is now over. If you don't have an extractor of your own, remember that as a member of the Susquehanna Beekeepers Association, you can borrow one of two extractors for free. We also have two uncapping tanks with hot knives available and two honey bucket strainers. Contact John Knapstein 410-692-9823 for more information.

Varroa mite Hive Checks

These days, it is a necessary task to check the varroa mite load both before and after treating your hives. If you have less than ten hives, I suggest checking the mite load in each hive. If you have ten or more hives, I would check a sample (20-50%, depending on your total number of hives). From the information that has been published in the bee journals, the alcohol wash and now Dawn dish washing liquid seems to be the more accurate tests, but if you do not want to kill any bees when testing, you can use the sugar roll test. The only thing that I can tell you about the sugar roll test is that it is not very accurate if you use it on hot and humid days.

Treating for Varroa mites!

It's time to launch the first attack against varroa mites. This is the time when the varroa mite population is building up to the point where they could kill your hives by late fall. Remember, the purpose for treating at this time of the year is to knock down the varroa population to the point that you will have a higher percentage of undamaged winter bees that will be able to make it through the cold weather.

I am going to try Apiguard in August, then follow-up with Formic Pro in September if the temperatures and humidity are low enough to apply it at that time. Also, through the winter months I will apply oxalic acid vapor October thru January twice a month if we get days around 48 degrees.

--Read the directions for your Varroa mite treatment of choice very carefully and/or watch a YouTube video on how to apply the treatment.
--Be sure you treat in the correct temperature range for your Varroa mite treatment.
What are you going to do or have done in July?
1. Harvest your honey.
2. Make sure that you remove your honey supers before you treat for Varroa mites.
3. Do a Varroa mite load pre-check before you apply your Varroa mite treatment of choice.
4. Read the directions for your Varroa mite treatment very carefully.
5. Be sure you treat in the correct temperature range for your Varroa mite treatment.
6. Make sure the queen has plenty of frames to lay eggs in the brood nest.
7. Keep an eye out for swarm cells.
Remember, treat your bees for Varroa -- your bees are counting on you!
Happy beekeeping!
Charlie Thomas, SBA President