This time last year I was cleaning out the beehives. We lost both hives from that first year. My initial summation was they we overwhelmed by hive beetles due to a bad location. While I still think the location was bad (too much shade and moisture) I have come to the conclusion the beetles probably took over after a mite investation damaged the hive beyond repair. We didn’t check or treat for mites last year.
This year the first of September in a hasty rush we treated with MAQS. Why hasty, well really I didn’t feel qualified to test and count mites and everything I ready online said “you have mites” even if you don’t think you do. So before we ran out of warm days, we treated. Feel free to flame me in the comments for not testing first or because you believe in being treatment free. The treatment went well and in part due to the new location the beetle count was down, not great but much better than last year.
Both hives were low on stores, the fall flow seemed bad based on what little I know in my second year. The 2:1 sugar syrup feeding begin and continued through October at which point both hives appeared to have two mostly full deeps and were active and still bringing in pollen from who knows where. The feeder was removed and two more frames of empty comb were added in its place.
Last item before winter was to build and install a quilt box. This became a priority as we are forcasted to have our first frost this next week. The box was made from 1×4 and lined with metal screen. It was filled half full of the same wood shavings we use for the chickens and placed on top above the shim. The shim will allow us to add a sugar brick on each hive later in the season. The shavings are supposed to wick moisture from the hive and allow it to evaporate out ventilation holes instead of dripping back into the hive and freezing the bees.
For now the bees are busy during the heat of the day and they are ready for winter as best we know how.