Short days and cold nights

Now that November is half over, my beekeeping chores have followed the daylight. There is a lot less of both now. My planning for spring starts in November so things like wooden ware repair and painting, new frame assembly and protein feeding  are my fall chores.

I had protein feeders out in late summer before the first frost – there was little to no interest. I removed them when the supplement started to look a bit old. A week or so after the first hard frost I put them back out with fresh supplement and they were a hit! Bees carrying it back to their hives like the real stuff. I have refilled one already. There is some debate if this helps and I’m not sure but if the bees are interested, I’m happy to supply it.

Along these lines, a thought came out of the state bee meeting that I had never heard before – brood stops for several weeks after the first killing frost. I’ve never noticed it but I rarely pull brood frames after frost because it is usually too cold (for me) to break that part of the hive apart. There is nothing I can do that will help the hive and lots that I can do that will hurt the hive.

One other interesting item is a varroa mite control technique where a empty frame is inserted next to the brood in spring. The idea is that the bees will draw it out as drone brood because there is no foundation to set cell size. The frame is pulled when mostly capped and the entire comb is cut out and removed from the hive. The now empty frame is returned to the hive and the process starts again. I plan to try it as it is easy, required no equipment and can be used when honey supers are on. The down side is that if my timing is off I could get a varroa bomb.

Enjoy your fall.