Huntingdonshire

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Monthly Tasks - August

• August is the month when honey is taken from the supers, extracted, filtered and stored in 454 g bottles or in 30 lb plastic containers.
• The frames from which the honey is removed are returned to the bees for honey clearing, and are then placed back into the supers for winter storage.
• At the end of the month preparation for winter is started.
• Varroa is killed after the honey is taken.
• Early in the month remove capped frames of honey from the supers and take them home for extraction. Concentrate the frames of uncapped honey into one super per hive and allow the bees time to cap them. If there is no nectar available place the super above the cover board with a piece of queen excluder over the feed hole. Let the bees repack the honey into the brood frames. Some beekeepers suggest no honey is removed until one week after the flow has ceased; this allows the bees to settle down and be less aggressive.
• Before you can take the supers off the hive they are cleared of bees with a bee excluder. The excluder can be the cover board with a one way bee way or Porter escape – make sure it works, that the springs are set correctly, and lets bees through; it can be a Canadian clearer board ;or if can be a plastic device fitted under the cover board with six or eight bee ways leading the bees to the edge. See Thorne’s catalogue. A 19mm rim around the underside of the clearer board will speed the bees exit from the supers. If bees will not leave the supers check to see if brood is in the super. Cover holes in between the supers to stop bees robbing them.
• When you have removed the honey, feed the bees with 5 litres of 50/50 water/sugar solution placed on the hive just before it gets dark, or late afternoon; so reducing robbing.
• Wasps can be a danger to beehives robbing any that are not well defended. Help the bees by reducing the hive entrance to 8 mm by 75 mm. Wasps can be captured in a glass jar( with a 6 mm hole in the screw on lid) one third filled with a weak jam/preserve in water. The solution may need to be changed weekly to remove dead wasps. Leave the jar on top of one of the hives.
• Uncapping the honey for extraction can de done with a knife or a hot air gun. Extracted honey should be filtered through a double nylon filter, poured into a 20 kg storage bucket (with lid ) and left for 48 hours Air, wax and debris will float to the top from where it can be skimmed off.
• When the honey has been removed carry out an integrated pest management scheme to remove most of the varroa. We have varroa resistant to Bayvarol Apistan in Northamptonshire so treatment with thymol (Apiguard), lactic acid etc. as allowed, must be made. Mid August treatment allows winter bees to develop but may permit reinfestation from other hives in the vicinity.
• No mention is made on heather honey as this is not available in the county. Beekeepers who move their bees to honey will be aware of the heather honey extraction methods, and winter feeding requirements.
• Fit varroa mesh floors for winter.
• If you keep bees in one brood box you may like to consider placing a super of frames with comb under the brood box for winter. This gives space for bees before the winter decline and provides more space for winter stores of 20 kg.

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