How Do I Prepare My Hive Before Fall?

August 17, 2022

How Do I Prepare My Hive Before Fall?

As the honey flow starts to come to an end we look towards fall. There are few key things that need to be prepared, to give your hive the best chance to survive the winter.

1.Entrance reducers/ Mouse guards/ Robber Screens
As the honey flow starts to slow, the chances of robbing become higher. One preventative measure is to start reducing your entrance. This can be done through using a wooden entrance reducer. This item has two different sizes of entrance for you to use during fall. Mouse guard can also be installed and used as an entrance reducer and will also help against other pests in your hive.

2.Hive Weight and Honey Boxes
As we have mentioned in our prior blog, When Should You Harvest Honey and How Much?, you want your hive to be 140 to 150 lb for overwintering. You want to weigh your hive once the honey boxes are removed. Any frames in your honey boxes that are being worked on or mostly capped should be removed now. Any frames that are empty in your brood boxes should be taken out and replaced with full honey frames. Uncapped frames should be condensed with your other frames in your brood boxes. This will hopefully prompt the bees into capping the frames and have them ready for winter stores.

Once your honey boxes are off and you weigh your hive, it's time to consider your feeding. If the hive is in need of syrup you are able to buy it from your local beekeeper or make it yourself. For instructions on how to please refer to this blog, Fall Hive Management, for more information. You must also provide your bees with some protein such as pollen patties and/or brood powder. This will ensure that your fall bees will have the right nutrients to help your hive survive through the winter. 

The most common medicine to use for fall is Fumagilin, which is used to treat Nosema Apis. The most common way to administer this medicine is to mix it into your fall syrup for the bees. Be extra careful not to expose fumagilin to the sun as it will render the medicine useless. You can refer back to our YouTube video from 2021.

5.Varroa Mite Treatments
Before doing any treatments we recommend to do a wash to see what the mite load is. You can do this with a varroa mite counter jar. On one side fill it up with approximately 100bees/ ⅓ cup and on the other windshield fluid/soap water. Shake for about 45-60 seconds. And then check the side with no bees. Please note that even if you don’t see mites in that initial shake, it doesn't mean there aren’t any. We still suggest for you to do a second shake. Make sure to have a sticky board underneath your hive during the treatment to catch any mites and to see if you need to do any follow up treatments. If you find that your hive is over 0.5% mite load you may want to consider a late fall treatment such as Oxalic Acid. Oxalic Acid uses a vaporizer to heat up the acid and get it distributed throughout the hive. This treatment is very effective against the mite and is usually done in the late fall. You can refer back to our video from 2021 for more information.

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