Claude’s Corner – July 2022

I hope you and your bees are well!

The beginning and ending of the major honey flow (when nectar is in abundance) is a moving target, so no one can state with specificity a date, but generally the honey flow ends about the middle of June, and certainly by July 1. With this in mind, I try to begin harvesting (taking honey supers off) around the first of July and finish by July 15.  With the honey supers off, I then have more choices for varroa management. (See Honey Bee Health Coalition publication “Tools for Varroa Management”.) 

Before proceeding, it would helpful to have your 2022 Mann Lake catalog handy. 

There are several methods for removing the bees from the honey super(s).  If you have less than a full box of capped honey, then you can shake the bees off each frame and then brush off the bees that still cling to the frames. (Mann Lake catalog page 63, top right corner).  If you have say, five supers, then I recommend some kind of bee escape.  I have used the bee escape shown on the upper third of page 128.  Then when you get more than five hives, time becomes an issue, and you will want to select a different method.  Even though I have a fume board (page 127), it also requires honey bandit (page 126) or Fischer’s Bee-Quick (page 128), I have never used it.  I just don’t like the idea, they work fine.  What I use is the escape screen (page 128 bottom).  The down side of using this method is that it requires taking off the supers, putting the screen on, and then putting the supers back on top.  I don’t mind doing this because when I take off the supers for the first time, I sort the frames in the supers and take out any frames that are not at least ¾ full of capped honey.  I put those frames (the uncapped frames) into another box and put that box on beneath the screen and then stack above the screen with full boxes of capped honey.  When I pull the boxes off, I also have a brush handy and a leaf blower to remove any stragglers. (I have a battery powered leaf blower.)

Also, around July 15, there will be a dearth beginning (little or no nectar or pollen) so monitor and feed if necessary (I use 1:1 to 2 sugar syrup). ALSO, be mindful of robbing.

Please feel free to send me an email with any questions or comments.