September Newsletter

Hello beekeepers, welcome to our September newsletter!

We're delighted to announce that we are the official Irish stockists of FormicPro - your new treatment to combat varroa! For more information regarding this treatment check out the New Stock section at the end of the newsletter. 

It's honey harvesting season! As such, a lot of extractors have been selling here at Donegal Bees. We have a good range of both manual and electric extractors in various sizes, and free shipping is included with every one. However stock is limited, so don’t delay in ordering! If you're interested in investing in your first extractor or looking to upgrade in size, check out our range here.

It’s also the time of year when you may be considering what to do with any spare or leftover wax you may have after harvesting your hives. Just a reminder to everyone that Donegal Bees has a Wax Exchange Service, which gives you the chance to exchange your raw beeswax for foundation sheets. See the below charts for details. If you have any queries or questions about our wax exchange or conversion services then feel free to get in touch and we’ll do our best to help!

In these difficult financial times, Donegal Bees are striving to provide the best prices and excellent customer service, and we’d like to thank all our customers for your continued support throughout the year – it is much appreciated! If you have any feedback or queries, please do not hesitate to email our team on

  • Assess the amount of honey in the brood nest. 
  • Feed the bulk of the winter stores required. 
  • Aim to get stores completely surrounding the brood nest. 
  • Heft the hives to check their weight. 
  • Keep a watch for wasps around the hives. 
  • Store supers to reduce the change of damage by wax moth.

Courtesy of the Haynes Bee Manual

This is one the favourite parts of the beekeeper’s calendar – it’s time to harvest that honey! Deciding how much honey to remove from a hive is one of the most important decisions in beekeeping. Depending on the colony size and your local winter climate, you may need to leave anywhere from 60 to 90 pounds of honey in a hive for your bees to survive through the Spring. It’s always best to err on the side of caution, though, as leaving more honey increases your hive’s chance of survival. 

Alternatively if you choose not to leave honey in the hive you should provide feed for the bees to survive on during the cold months. Feeds such as Apipasta, which is composed of sucrose, making it very attractive for bees and easy to use for beekeepers.

After the honey harvest, it’s important to continue inspecting your hives. Check and treat for mites now that supers have been pulled for human consumption. Healthy, strong hives have a greater chance of surviving harsh winters. A lack of nectar during late Summer and early Autumn can greatly reduce a queen’s egg-laying ability, so be sure you’ve introduced feed to your hives before temperatures start to drop.


September can be a critical month for bees. Forage and weather will vary based on where you are. Remember, robbing is a threat while nectar is in demand. Reduce entrances and don't keep your hives open too long. Additionally, remember, every time you crack the hive open and pull frames apart, you may be releasing hive beetles from their propolis jails that the bees worked so hard to contain them. 

Some of the things to do in September; 

Monitor colony health. A colony that is not performing like others should be inspected to be sure its's queen-right and not diseased or mite-laden. 

Monitor extraneous space in supers. Supers on hives that are light with nectar and not likely to be filled, should be removed. They are more of a liability now. We remove them not only because we want the bees to put the honey in the deeps for winter stores, but also to avoid extra space for wax moth and hive beetle to invade. You could set them up as a community feeder far away from the hives or freeze the frames to feed them back when needed. If the hive is weaker, consider combining or collapsing. Take those resources and bolster another more viable colony. 

Check hive weight. Check for adequate food stores. They should not be too light. If light, those who feed should feed for weight. Others may consider a plan to combine or collapse that colony. 

If you are harvesting honey, extract your supers as soon as possible to avoid wax moth. Getting them extracted also lets you set them up back outside as a community feeder to both let bees build their stores, and get your combs cleaned out for winter storage. 

While the temps cool, don't forget about water. The bees still need water so make sure they have access to some. 

Consider reducing entrances to the small hole, especially for weaker hives. Get your mouse guards ready. The cooler weather is a signal for mice to find a warmer winter den and a beehive is perfect. 

For those who use treatments, it is worth mentioning: Hives with high varroa at this time have a high mortality rate if left unchecked. It's too late to do a brood-break and rear a new queen. Your options are limited to a mite treatment. If you are going to treat, now is the time to do so. Retest for Varroa to ensure the efficacy of treatments. Check out our newest varroa treatment Formic Pro

It is time now to feed the colony for the winter replacing any honey taken. The colony will need at least 15kg of syrup to make it through the cold months ahead. Feeding needs to be completed before the end of the month allowing the colony to process off the excess water. Fit a mouse guard to the entrance. 

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. 

Federation of Irish Beekeepers Association -

​Irish Beekeepers Association CLG -

Native Irish Honey Bee Society -

Essential Equipment:

Our Basic Kit includes a beesuit, gloves, smoker, hive tool and a bee brush. €115 

Now available at Donegal Bees - Formic Pro Varroa Treatment! 

Pack includes 2 sachets (4 strips in total) = 2 treatments.

Choose to Protect Your Colonies Sustainably: 

  •  UNDER THE CAP TREATMENT - Target varroa mites under the brood cap, where they reproduce. 
  •  NO RESISTANCE - Formic acid has been used for over 30 years without any known resistance.

Donegal Bees are the official Irish stockists of FormicPro!

We're also happy to announce that our DN5 Frames are now back in stock! These frames can be used with our National Brood Beeswax foundation. The difference between a DN5 and the more popular DN4 is the width of the top-bar. The DN5, with it's slightly wider top-bar, offers more strength and discourages brace comb.

Lastly, thank you for keeping bees! Let us know if you have any questions regarding your hive, we’re always happy to help. 

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  • How do you set extracted supers up as a community feeders and far away from the hives should they be.

  • A very informative newsletter, with reputable links and instruction. FormicPro seems to be a useful option.

    Advice on heather honey extraction or the melting point of heather honey would be very useful.

    Thank you, Donegal Bee

    Tim Dewhirst
  • Dear Donegal Bees
    Many thanks for your very attractive, informative newsletter and site.
    May I please suggest you quote in metric (we’re “Oirish”, not the UK) and I’d like to compliment your web developers on a great layout, accssible, informative, easily navigatable site.


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