Claude’s Corner – August 2022

I hope you and your bees are well!

August is generally one of if not the hottest months of the year, and it is hard to even think about winter, but that is what the bees are doing, and we need to be also.  August is the month that the bees begin raising fat bees that will live over winter until early spring.  So, we, as keepers of bees, should help them by controlling varroa mite levels.  Please refer to Honey Bee Health Coalition website.  Your bees will very likely not make it until spring if you do not manage varroa levels.  

On another subject:  what to do with a mean, offensive hive?  We all will be met occasionally with what I call a grumpy hive.  Maybe it had a visit last night by a skunk or raccoon, its cloudy, windy, or a host of other things that gets bees upset.  If this is the case, then I just close that hive up and go on to the next one, or come back another time.  But this is a temporary situation, what I have in mind is the hive that is always mean, one that comes at you guns a blazing when you get anywhere near the hive and is constantly banging your veil, and stinging.  This is a situation, I submit, that cannot and should not be allowed to continue.  Think about you, your family, your neighbors, or anyone else that may come in contact with these bees.  Now I know that some will say that a mean hive can be changed by re-queening, and that is mainly true, but it will take anywhere from 45 to 60 days before all those mean bees cycle out of the hive, and also, the drones are out there spreading those mean genes to my and others bees.  So, what I recommend is immediate action to kill the entire hive.  I have used warm soapy water poured over the entire interior of the hive that has been closed up, before dawn.  Replace the hive with local stock, not from Georgia, Florida, or Texas where Africanized bees are known to be present.   

Please stay safe and drink plenty of water.  When working my bees in hot weather, I take a small cooler with me, that has a tray’s worth of ice covered with water and a face towel that I dip into the cold water and throughout my inspection, liberally wipe my face, head, neck, and arms.