Whilst the children are still on summer holidays and we are enjoying temperatures in the mid to high 20s, in the bee world it is already autumn.
By the beginning of August the colony is beginning to shrink in size and forage is reducing. By the end of August there really isn’t anything of substance for them to collect, beyond nectar from a few garden flowers and some blackberry.
They have kicked out most drones and, if they are not ‘queen right’ now, then there is no chance of them raising a new queen. Their only hope is the introduction of a fully mated queen, ready to lay.
They are therefore in full autumn mode and preparing for winter. By the end of October, whilst we will still be enjoying autumnal weather, they need to be fully bedded down for their winter.
So, this is the apiary today. Gone are the 5 high stacks of supers full of honey. They now have a maximum of 2 supers, most fewer. This is just to give them room for the bees, as they reduce in numbers to their winter colony size of around 10,000 bees.
Their biggest threat right now is from varroa and wasps.
More on dealing with both of these pests next time.