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Beekeeping in the PNW in August - 2022

Hello Honey Bee Caretakers!

August! Wow, where did the time go? We have been pulling, extracting, straining, and bottling honey now for weeks. We’re desperate to convert our honey room back into a reading and music room, but we’ve a bit more work to do.


August is hot, the bees are working incredibly hard to keep their hive cool. They seek out water, fill up their ‘honey gut’, fly it back to the hive, and hang it around the combs to allow for evaporative cooling. They are, effectively, little AC units. They have also changed from sweet, carefree honey bees into a-bit-testy bees since there is much less to forage and much more to protect from robbers. This also marks the end of high swarm-risk months since they need a good nectar flow to successfully swarm. That is why I have removed all honey supers from the hives and squished the bees all into their two brood boxes. You may notice them congregating on the doorstep since there isn’t much space inside. That’s all okay. The queen has significantly decreased her daily egg laying activity. It is time for winter bees to be reared and summer bees to die off.

Management at this time is largely focused on varroa mite control. All hives that I have tested are showing varroa numbers at or very near the threshold for treatment of 3 mites per 100 bees. I will test every hive again each month until the time comes to close them up for the winter. I am a strong advocate for using only organic treatments, and am using Apiguard this year. Apiguard uses thymol, an essential oil, to kill mites but leave the bees uneffected.

It is also vitally important from now until winter close-up to ensure that each hives’ queen is alive and well with all systems ‘go.’ A hive will not survive the winter without a queen or a poor quality queen. I will be checking regularly to ensure that she is present and laying well.

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