Beekeeping Management Focus

Late season drone removal. Photo credit: Jen Holt.

Late season drone removal. Photo credit: Jen Holt.

Originally posted August 17, 2017

by Charlie Vanden Heuvel, Journey student and Mentor in the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program

While we are focused on the heat of August, the honey bees have been applying their entire effort toward winter. In order for the bees to thrive our northern climate they must be healthy and of course have sufficient stores. The Queen has begun laying “Winter Bees capable of living up to 300 days versus the ‘non-winter bee’ whose life span is 40 to 45 days. As a beekeeper, we should strive to support their transition from post winter to the impending season. In a couple weeks changing from the typical 1:1 sugar syrup feeding to 2:1 syrup is in order. This fattens the bees in their preparation.

Simultaneous to replacing the foraging work force, beekeepers will be witnessing the expulsion of the Drone population, as nature no longer needs them. Swarm season, with its peak in May/June and the necessity for mating Queens, has passed. The Drones are now seen as unnecessary consumers of the precious winter stores.

Finally continue to monitor the hive’s space. The Nectar Flow for our area is typically in May/June, but this year found it more in early July. August and September the bees are working wild flowers which have proven as resourceful as the main flow. We are stewards! Listen to the girls applying your best stewardship skills in support of their efforts.