October Newsletter 2023
Hello beekeepers, welcome to this month's newsletter where we'll share advice on what you should be doing for your bees in the month of October.
- Check whether your colonies are being bothered by wasps or robber bees.
- Make sure all hives are bee-tight and wasp-tight.
- Keep entrances small until the first frosts have killed the wasp nests.
- Remove the entrance block and fit a mouse guard to deep entrances.
- Remove varroa treatments according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Record the batch numbers of treatments used and the dates of insertion and removal. This is a legal requirement.
Courtesy of the Haynes Bee Manual
October is the time of the year that is crucial to maintaining your beehive throughout the Autumn and Winter months. To keep your hive in top condition all season long, there are a few key guidelines to remember. From properly inspecting your bees to checking for honey reserves, each step you take is crucial to protecting your hive from damage.
- Check the Honey Reserves
While some bees may already have enough food to last until the spring, others might not be as well prepared. Be sure to take the time to check the honey reserves in your hive and confirm that there’s enough to tide your bees over.
- Provide Extra Food
If your honey reserves are lacking, it’s vital to provide your bees with an extra food source to get them through the cold weather. This helps to ensure that they have the strength they need throughout the chilly winter months. There are many different supplemental food sources that you can choose from, such as Hive Alive Fondant and Apipasta.
- Inspect Your Bees
As simple as it sounds, this is one of the most important October beekeeping tips to keep in mind for the fall season. Be sure to check on your queen bee. Queen bees typically set themselves apart from the rest of the hive with their long, thin bodies and pointed abdomens. If your queen isn’t present in the hive, don’t wait too long to find a replacement. To handle your queen bee carefully, be sure to choose a reliable queen catcher. This convenient product lets you pick up your queen by hand whenever you need to while staying protected.
- Keep Your Hive Healthy
To ensure that your bees stay strong through the fall and winter, it’s important to work hard to keep them healthy during October. Bees can be susceptible to a number of serious illnesses, particularly viruses spread by Varroa mites. Varroa mites can wreak havoc on a hive just by attacking a single bee. Once a mite attaches to a bee’s body, it slowly strips away the fat bodies inside the bee, weakening the insect as a result.
While it’s nearly impossible to eliminate Varroa mites completely, you can still put together a plan to keep as many mites away from your hive as you can. By keeping your bees free of illness at the start of fall, you can help build the foundation for a healthy hive in the long run. Check out our varroa treatment options. See our guide to treatments HERE.
- Consolidate Hives
Bees are strongest in groups, and the best way to enhance your entire bee population is to optimize each hive. If you have any particularly weak hives, focus on combining these hives into stronger ones. Additionally, if any of your beehives have an excess of empty space, don’t miss out on the opportunity to address this weak spot. Hives with too much empty space should be carefully restructured to allow enough room for your strongest bees.
- Adapt to the Weather
One of the most important October beekeeping tips to follow is adapting your hive to the changing seasons. As you get deep into autumn and begin to approach winter, the temperatures will be dropping quickly. It’s your job to ensure that your bees stay healthy and receive the support they need during the colder months. There are many ways to properly insulate your hive from frigid temperatures. A hive stand can help protect your bees from the cold while preventing moisture problems. [Courtesy of Dadant]
The main causes of winter losses are queenless colonies, starvation, varroa and damp in the hives. All of these are within your control. Your bees are a valuable asset, and they deserve your best attention.
Preparing for Winter
Help your bees by making sure that they don’t run short of food. A National Standard brood comb full of honey contains about 2.3kg (5lb), or 1.15kg (2.5lb) per side. Go through the brood nest and estimate the amount of stores. Then ‘heft’ the hive: raise the back and side of the hive in turn just enough to slip an imaginary postcard between it and the stand. Try to relate how this feels to your estimate of the stores present. With practice you’ll be able to estimate stores just by hefting. Then feed the appropriate amount of strong sugar syrup using your feeder of choice. A well-fed colony will feel as though it’s nailed to the stand.
Robbing is best controlled by never letting it start. Don’t spill syrup. Don’t have leaky feeders. Make sure the only way into the hive is through the entrance. Reduce this to a size the guard bees can defend. If bees have to queue to get in, more of them will be stimulated to become guards.
With all the required syrup/fondant now in the brood chamber, all should be well for winter. Fit a mouse guard to the entrance if not done already. Strap and or weigh down the roof against winter wind. Monitor the now small entrance regularly for the build up of dead bees. Bees are dying all the time and just a few can block the entrance leaving the others unable to get out. Keep a regular check for rain getting in. Feeding should not be required yet but keep an emergency block of fondant with you just in case (most of the colonies that die out are due to starvation). Most important remember bees are livestock and we have a duty to look after them as best we can.
TIP: Joining a local beekeeping association or club is the best way to learn about the particulars of beekeeping for your region. It’s one of the first things we suggest to anyone looking to become a beekeeper.
Our Basic Kit includes a beesuit, gloves, smoker, hive tool and a bee brush. €115
50L Wax Sterilizer with Insulated Jacket
The melting of beeswax and the production of wax foundation at the industrial level involves the need to follow established rules and, consequently, take care of the bees' health. Therefore, when you are a producer of wax foundation, it is essential to have a professional and reliable tool. Wax sterilization is the only practice that provides protection against parasite larvae, bacteria and microorganisms. A 50-liter sterilizer made of stainless steel and equipped with a heating jacket is an essential tool for wax processing. Between the walls of the device there is a space for heating oil, which is heated to a temperature that guarantees effective sterilization of the wax. The inside of the device is equipped with an additional insulating jacket (mineral wool) which protects against burning and heat loss.
- made of stainless steel grade 1.4301 (AISI 304)
- capacity 50L
- amount of heating medium 30L
- insulated with mineral wool
- temperature regulator in the range of 0-120°C
- upper 3/4" drain valve
- bottom drain valve 5/4"
- heating oil drain valve with 1⁄2" plug
- total power 2kW
- power supply 230V
Dimensions of the tank:
- external tank height 530mm
- internal tank height 400mm
- external diameter of tank ∅500
- internal diameter of tank ∅400
- height 600mm
- width 630mm
- depth 740mm
- net weight - 29kg
Tip: Fill the heating jacket of the tank with heating oil with a minimum boiling point of 230°C
Lastly, thank you for keeping bees!
Let us know if you have any questions regarding your hive, we’re always happy to help. 😊