Tips and Tricks
Inspect your hives for queenrightness. Consider merging weak hives and pinching under-performing queens. Cut queen cells to prevent swarming, or transfer cells to queenless hives or splits.
Decrease the size of your hive entrances. While late spring nectar flow populations are still high, summer has begun and the good times are coming to an end. It is time to reduce your hive entrances by at least half to discourage robbing. In later summer, when the dearth has become a reality, queens slow their laying rates and colony populations diminish, you will need to further reduce your entrances to an inch or smaller.
After equalizing between hives (transferring honey from hives with surpluses to those without sufficient stores), pull your capped surplus honey frames and extract your honey for bottling.
After you've pulled your honey crop, perform IPM varroa counts and treat as necessary. Also, keep an eye out for Deformed Wing Virus as an indicator of a need to treat. Pay attention to miticide instructions, particularly ambient temperature restrictions.
UGA has a great page on Varroa Destructor.
Keep a look out for Small Hive Beetles (SHB). With the cold weather, SHB should be less of a problem, but some adults will have survived among the bees in cluster and they are looking to grow their population, too!
On days above 60°F, check, refill and/or replace your SHB traps. You can try traps with oil or DE (diatomacious earth), but please don't put Fipronil, Coumaphos, or other toxins in your hives. Do not use "SHB attractants" (banana, apple cidar vinegar, etc.) in your traps or feed dispensers; they're not necessary.
As a general rule, endeavor to keep your hives in full sun.
Back to basics -
Read Rev. Langstroth's
original 1853 tome:
5-Yr Queen mark
A great blog with
lot's of helpful links:
For information on processing honey, try the UGA Honey Bee Program website.
For the GA Department of Agriculture's rules for Honey Houses and product labeling,
Shady conditions = SHB conditions.
Squash any SHB that you encounter with your hive tool (particularly on the underside of the outer cover and both sides of the inner cover, if used, when you open the hive). Also, when YOU ARE SURE that neither the queen nor any brood is in a particular super, you can shake out the SHB in that super and kill them by hand. First, lay your telescopinghive cover upside down on the ground. Then, hold your super a short distance over the cover and drop it at an angle (turning the box a little clockwise) onto the edges of the cover. The bees and SHB will fall off of the frames and onto the cover. Lift away the super and squash the SHB against the cover with your hive tool or fingers. Any dislocated bees will fly back into the hive. NOTE: Be relatively gentle when dropping the box, because comb with honey is heavy and can detach from the frames.
Note: In general, it is important to limit your intrusions into your hives, as each intrusion greatly disrupts the bees ability to manage ("corral") the SHBs.
Consider regular soil applications under and around your hives with insecticidal nemotodes (check outSoutheastern Insectories in Perry, GA) or diatomaceous earth (DE). Also, consider keeping your hives in achicken yard - yes, really! When the SHB larvae exit the hive to pupate in the soil... the chickens get them.