Charlie's monthly beekeeping calendar

Your monthly guide of beekeeping tips for you and your hives

July 9, 2021

To all SBA members,

The 2021 honey flow was the best one for me in the ten years I have been keeping bees. This year was the first time that the locust bloom wasn't washed away by rainy weather. I have started extracting my honey and I estimate that I'll have approximately eight hundred pounds, my largest crop ever.

The main honey 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. In the past, I have neglected to do these tests on a regular basis so this will be my beekeeping resolution for 2021. 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 only check a sample (20-50%, depending on your total number of hives). From what I've heard, the alcohol wash seems to be the more accurate test, 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. We will launch the second mite attack in mid-September to mop up what was missed on the first round.

I am going to put Apivar strips in my hives on July 18 and leave them in until the end of August. This will give me the prescribed six week treatment listed on the packaging.

- Read the directions for your Varroa mite treatment of choice very carefully or look at 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