Searching for Food – Bees through the Seasons

Supporting Kiwi Bees

beephoto_AP16The long hot dry spell has continued with brief interludes of welcome rain. This has brought some flower flushes both in our gardens and paddocks. The worker bees are looking around for nectar and other food and are busy on the Michaelmas daisies, lavenders, dahlias, late flowering roses and anything else they can find that has managed to keep flowering in the big dry. Because food is getting scarcer, robbing can become an issue. Stronger hives will target weaker ones and clean them out of their hard-won stores. All honey should be made bee-proof. The weather is getting a little cooler at night and the shortening days mean hive behaviour is changing subtly. Brood production is slowing down and shortly the bees will begin evicting the drones in preparation for winter.

This happens more obviously as Autumn progresses.

Give thought to wintering down your hives. Check the queen/s and requeen if you can get hold of any. Make sure the hives have enough food and pollen.

Varroa treatment should be well underway and if you are using miticide strips note on your calendar when they are due to be removed from the hives.

The onset of cooler weather and fewer sources of nectar mean your hives may require sugar feeding so consider how you are going to mix and feed out syrup. We find for our house hives, a watering can suffices. Bee activity and behaviour when closely observed remind us that the season is changing and nature is starting to close up shop for the winter. There is still a way to go and at the time of writing, the weather is warm and dry. But change is in the air.