Despite the polar vortex that has embraced much of Canada this month, some bees may have experienced warm weather spells since January 1 and this could have triggered them to initiate a small brood nest.
For Alberta this could be especially true south of Red Deer, in chinook territory. The thing to know is that when it gets cold again, the bee cluster will contract to keep the queen warm - at the expense of the brood.
Also - the bees age much more quickly in the hive once brood-rearing begins. This is a common cause of winter loss that's often mistaken for starvation.
If you find you have lost your bees when the weather warms, look at the comb for a ring or patches of capped cells in the cluster area. This is a sign of premature brood rearing.
In terms of a remedy, consider using a queen strain that is better suited or acclimatized for your climate.
If you have any questions on this or other issues, please contact Hiveworld.ca at any time.
Some signs of a weak hive may be a small population of bees by the end of September. The hive needs to have a big enough cluster to survive the winter, which is approximately 6 to 8 full frames of bees. You might notice wasps and other pests trying to enter your hive if you have a low amount of bees. Robbing of honey stores may occur, which will further deplete your colony's strength.
Fumagilin is used to treat a very serious disease found in adult honey bees called nosema. This disease has contributed to loss of colonies in both autumn and spring. Nosema is a fungal infection of the bee's intestines.
In September there are a lot of variables that will set your hive up for the winter. You might be wondering what the end goal is? What will your hive look like? If you’re a first time beekeeper, it can be intimidating not knowing what to look for in your hive before you close it up.