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A Year in the Apiary - August

August is honey month. The bees are now struggling to find nectar sources so will be starting preparations for Winter. This is the time the beekeeper can take some of the excess honey that the bees have stored. You see, they can't help themselves, if there is more nectar than they need, they will collect it anyway, and this excess is what the beekeeper can have, so long as they leave enough for the bees to overwinter.

You can see the capped honey in the centre of this frame. If it is capped, it is less than 20% water content which is ideal for storage. I will take frames like these, remove the wax cappings and spin out the honey in an extractor. Here's a video of that happening - you can see the honey running down the side of the extractor and pooling in the bottom of the drum.

After spinning out the honey I put extracted super frames back on the hives they came from for bees to clean out, then store securely. Next, I will need to think about treating the bees for the Varroa mite; the loading of this mite will have increased significantly over the Summer. I will also need to decide if any colonies need to be united before winter, especially if they are weak in number.

Wasps can be a bit of a nuisance right now. In the Spring, wasps collect small insects and feed them to their young. In exchange, the wasp larvae secretes a nectar solution for the adult wasp. At this time of year, all the young larvae have grown up into adult wasps and the nectar source is lost. The wasps then look for alternative sources of sugar, such as your picnic table, or my hives. I will reduce the hive entrances to a minimum, ensure there are no gaps that they could make use of, and place traps as necessary.

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