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Beekeeping in July in the PNW - 2022

We all know this beekeeping season has been an odd one. However, in the last month we have seen the sentiment turn from famine to feast! Oh, the honey is being brought in by the bucket-loads across all of our hives! Right now, the bees are flying frantically and care very little about humans hanging around or opening up their home. That is all about to change. July traditionally brings the end of the nectar flow. Flowers dry up, things get hot, and our bees can get a little ‘cranky.’ And that is the time that we get to steal a bit of their hard work and extract the liquid gold!

Here is what to expect. Sometime between mid-month and early August the nectar flow will conclude. At that point, I’ll remove your supers (the top box) and take it away to extract the honey. Back at my place, I’ll uncap the frames, place them in my extractor and spin them out. After running the honey through a couple of fine strainers, it will sit for at least 24 hours to allow the bits of wax and other things to float to the surface. The ‘junk’ will be skimmed off and we’ll bottle it up for you. Remember, you will get a minimum of 24 pounds! We typically provide twelve 1-pound jars, six 2-pound jars, and any amount beyond that in gallon jars. We also put our Camas Honeybee Co labels on each jar. If you wish to have the honey in different sized containers or not have our labels applied, just let me know.

As soon as the honey supers come off, we go into winter preparations! This begins with testing for varroa mites again and treating, if necessary. At this time of year, we will treat with Apiguard, an organic product that is derived from the essential oil thymol. It effectively kills 80 to 95 percent of mites in the hive; it stinks, but it works. This is incredibly important in the month of August since it is then that winter bees will be being laid and raised. We must have very healthy winter bees to make it through to spring of 2023. Since varroa are vectors for many bee viruses, even a moderate varroa load can lead to a whole colony contracting one of many deadly viruses. Bees over the summer can survive just about anything since there is such a high turnover and growth rate, while they must overwinter without regular reinforcements.

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