Hello Fellow Beekeepers,
I wanted to update everyone via email this morning. As you are aware we are still not having meetings scheduled for our group due to the COVID crisis and most likely will not for the rest of the year. While I certainly would love to have a meeting and resume our monthly potluck dinners and interactions, I believe that it would be short sighted for us to do so at this time until the COVID crisis has resolved. Of note is the fact that many other beekeeper associations are not having meetings either.
With that being said I want to give my thoughts on the beekeeping season thus far. It seems that in speaking with fellow beekeepers we had a robust honey season this year in certain places – I know that I did. It was spotty in nature though because I spoke with several other beekeepers that did not have a very good harvest and I thought that this was quite strange to have such a different experience in a relatively small area. While the late frost really affected the Black Locust bloom at my place we seemed to have a resurgence of the nectar flow in early May and the bees really packed the nectar into the hives! I believe that this was due to white clover. Paul Esker and I extracted in late July of this year and the spring honey was very light and mild tasting – everyone seems to have given it very good reviews.
Paul Esker and I recently treated our hives for mites and this year we used Formic Pro. This is a natural formic acid treatment for mites and we found this very easy to place in the hives. We treated our hives with one strip of Formic Pro between the hive bodies for 10 days and then repeated the process for another 10 days. Application was very easy to do with two people and the bees did seem to tolerate it nicely although I did speak with one beekeeper in Madison County that had a fairly recent nuc that he had installed in a 10 frame deep abscond after treatment but he was able to catch this ‘swarm’ and place it in another hive body. I have minimal experience with this treatment method but time will tell. Formic Pro and Mite Away Quick Strips are similar treatments but Formic Pro has a longer shelf life of 24 months and there are no temperature requirements for storage.
I believe that Eddie and Sherman treated their hives with Hop Guard III which is a natural Hop compound and seems to have good reviews. I have no experience with this treatment though but Eddie gives it good reviews. Eddie is going to treat his hives in September with ApiGuard for the fall.
Eddie and Sherman did inspect a small colony of bees in the Tates Creek area down by the Kentucky River that had been demolished by a bear in July of this year. I believe that another bear was spotted in the Round Hill area also this year perhaps it was the same one.
I would be planning to treat your hives for mites soon if you have not already. You can also at least start considering when to feed sugar syrup for the winter stores – I usually start this in late September or October if need be but hopefully the fall nectar flow will be sufficient so that the bees can have a nice amount for storage of honey for the winter.
I want everyone to continue to stay vigilant with regard to the Coronavirus. Treat your hives for mites at this time and start thinking about getting ready for the winter. I will try to update everyone as the year progresses, if there are any suggestions please do not hesitate to reach out and contact me.
Kent J. Kessler