Keeping Bees in October
Evaluate the state of each hive
Hopefully you did this in September but if not do it now. Most importantly, are you going into winter with a queen? It’s probably impossible to find a queen now.
Reduce the number of hive boxes where possible. The goal is to have compact space. If you have undrawn frames, remove them. Fill the empty space with Styrofoam that is covered with foil or placed in a plastic bag.
The Honey Flow from knot-weed is over. It will take a few more weeks for the bees to evaporate the nectar and cap it over. They may surprise you and the super you thought you had is now half empty.
Good news: if that’s because they moved the honey down into the lower boxes to be closer
Bad news: if the honey was robbed
The only way to know which is by hefting. You will be doing this all winter. Stand behind the hive and lift it from the bottom with one hand. The bees have enough honey if you can hardly lift it or can’t.
Yes? No sugar water needed
No? Begin feeding gallons thick sugar water (2:1 sugar to water). Add Honey B Healthy available at the Farm store if you can afford it. They will move it down fast. Check every four or five days.
POLLEN PATTIES - encourage additional brood rearing; it also allows the colony to save the pollen they brought in to use when the queen starts laying again in February or March.
Wet bees are dead bees. Bees give off moisture as they consume honey. That moisture has to go somewhere or the bees will die very quickly. The warm, moist air within the hive with a cold lid on top, will drip condensation. Signs of too much moisture: mold on the inside of the outer cover, or wet spots in the bottom board.
Entrance reducers and a mouse guard are a must.