The Dangers of Feeding Off-Spec Syrups to Your Bees
The nectar flow has stopped or is dwindling. There are some small nectar flows which will continue into fall but they do not provide enough nutrients for bees. Exceptions are hives that are near late blooming crops such as some clover varieties.
Continue to monitor pollen and nectar intake. Depending on their location and forage available, most hives will need 1:1 sugar water feeding. 1:1 sugar water feedings imitate a nectar flow and will encourage brood production. It is very important to keep your population high. The bees that are born in August and September will be your overwintered bees.
Usually bees will find pollen easily, however, all pollen is not equal. Some pollen is poor in nutrients. Offer pollen patties to them. Some hives will not eat the patties and some gobble them up quickly. Pollen is essential for brood rearing.
Towards the middle or end of September, lift up on the back of your hives and if they feel light (about less than 80 lbs.) begin feeding 2:1 sugar water. 2:1 will fatten up the winter bees’ vitellogenin (bee fat); much like a bear preparing for winter.
For weak hives, reduce boxes if needed to prevent wax moth and small hive beetle infestation and so the bees can police the smaller living area better.
Continue swarm management. Be very cautious about making splits. Splits make two weak hives. You want your bees going into fall/winter with the most resources and population as possible. It is better to remove brood from a heavily populated hive to boost a weaker hive.
Continue to monitor/test for mites and medicate if necessary.
If you haven’t already done so, move your best drawn comb towards the inside of the boxes so the bees will be able to cluster better upon. It is very taxing for bees to draw comb & they use a lot resources to do so. Most likely they will not draw it out anyway this time of year. Spring & the beginning of summer is the best time for bees to draw out comb.
If weather becomes cool, install mouse guards.
For more beekeeping info, download our free “2022 Beekeeping Guide”.