Fall beekeeping tasks

For the most part my over winter preparation are complete. Mouse guards are on, feeding has just about finished, feeders are clean and stored. Fall prep is a good bit of work!

I ventilate all winter so vent shims with a 1” screened hole are in place. Marginal hives have been combined with other hives. All the hives are heavy with stores and at last check, had laying queens. Because I feed 1 to 1 syrup late into the fall the queens continued to lay. I also feed protein supplement late into the fall using community feeders. I do this so that the youngest, healthiest bees are established when cold weather shuts down brood production.

There was a lengthy discussion at the last bee club meeting about the fall use of 1 to 1 or 2 to 1 syrup with some thinking that feeding 2 to 1 syrup stops egg laying. I don’t know of any research into this but try to follow what nature does. Flower nectar sugar concentrations doesn’t change in the fall so I believe the bees coordinate hive functions based on day length and temperature. Day length cycles have not changed for millions of years.

I am attempting to over winter a number of nucs this season. All are in 5 frame hives; some two supers high and some three high. Overwintered nucs have been reasonably successful in the past but they do take a bit more attention. I usually add a candy board with protein supplement in late January or February.

Capping and wax rendering have my attention now. I use a somewhat inefficient, labor intensive method but the results are positive and the resulting wax is usable. Solar melters are great but I usually don’t start the process until later in the season when the sun is not strong enough to work well.