At this time of year you should be concerned about two things - mites and nutrition.
It is not necessarily the mites that pose the real threat but rather the viruses that they transmit. The viruses will persist after the Varroa have been treated; therefore it takes a few generations of brood rearing for virus levels to reduce. If you wait until late fall to reduce the Varroa population, due to the viruses, you will still have unhealthy bees going into winter. The best time to deal with the mites is late August/early September depending on your location.
Top Treatments for Varroa Mite:
Soft Chemicals: An effective treatment while leaving the least amount of residue. We offer MiteAway Quick Strips, Formic Pro, and Api Life Var. Both are 95% effective. However, both work through the evaporation of essential oils or organic acids, thus making them weather sensitive.
Oxalic Acid is a treatment that has been used in Europe and Canada for years and has been recently approved in the United States. It is a naturally occurring acid found in plants and occurs in honey. The efficacy of this treatment is in excess of 95%.
Hard Chemicals: Will kill the Varroa Mites but label instructions must be followed and do not leave on longer than recommended. We supply Apistan Strips, Check Mite Plus and Apivar. Bees have been known to build up a tolerance to these treatments. Perform a mite count after treatment; do not assume it was effective.
Non-Chemical: Beekeepers have been using powdered sugar to monitor mites but if heavily dusting with a Dustructor can control the mite population (repeat applications needed if used solely as mite control). The Varroa reproduction is directly tied to the bee reproduction cycle. Because drones are capped longer as brood, the Varroa are more attracted to drone brood where they can lay more eggs. Using Drone Foundation or a Drone Frame, you can wait until the brood is capped, remove and freeze the foundation. DRONE FRAME MUST BE REMOVED ONCE BROOD IS CAPPED. Non-chemical or IPM techniques can be effective to control mites; however, they require dedication and time to be successful.
It's no surprise, nutrition can either help or hinder a colony. If the colony is diseased, poor nutrition can amplify the symptoms, but good nutrition can be the elixir needed to get them through.
Honey bees require proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and water. There are several nutritional supplements which incorporate these needed nutrients to maintain a healthy colony. Here are some mixtures that can be added to your sugar water or corn syrup:
Honey B Healthy This feeding supplement is used in spring and winter to stimulate the immune system. This feed stimulant with essential oils prevents mold and fungus in sugar syrup, calms bees when used as a spray, builds colonies when fed during dearth and much more. The scent of spearmint and lemongrass will attract your bees to feed almost immediately.
Amino B Booster A blend of free amino acids that assimilates rapidly and directly through the mid gut to the bee’s hemolymph and hemocytes, then transported to the sites where protein is needed for bee growth. Amino B Booster provides your bees the nutrients they need when pollen is scarce or lacks the nutrients bees need.
Vitamin B Healthy Helps provide needed nutrients vital for bee health especially when pollen sources are scarce or the pollen lacks the essential nutrients the bees need. Helps build strong healthy colonies for maximum honey production and pollination or can be used to help build up weak, over-winterized colonies, packages, nucs or swarms.
Super B Plus This is a combination of all the essential ingredients found in Honey B Healthy, Amino B Booster, and Vitamin B Healthy.
Hive Alive A feed to help bees maintain colony strength. Prevents syrup from fermenting and helps bees absorb the nutrients, proteins and sugars needed to increase brood production. Hive Alive strengthens the bees immune system to help manage intestinal issues and other diseases.
Health of the colony is crucial during the fall months. A healthier colony will have a better chance of surviving winter. Make sure you provide the feed your colony needs and that the Varroa Mites are in check.