So far October has been mild and the bees are able to fly and continue foraging, The ivy is flowering and there are a number of other late blooms. The super is nearly completely full. I stopped feeding mid-september when the ivy flow started. Autumn is approaching fast and a number of issues make me worry that my hive may have problems over the coming winter.
In the period between September and October the varroa drop count has rapidly increased to about 60 per day. I am committed to NOT using any chemicals in the hive but am open to any non-chemical techniques. With only one newish hive, I have not had enough time to fully regress the bees or enough hives to allow genetics to play a role. I need to find a way to keep the bees going until these ideas have had a chance to work. I’d love to hear from anyone with an effective method to use this late in the year.
Despite their being a flow on, the bees seem quiet, normally the hive entrance is chaos but the bees seem slightly subdued. Pollen is being brought back, bees are off foraging – it just seems less vigerous. The Ivy is flowering, but I could not see a single bee on a large ivy only 30 metres away, loads of wasps and other flying bugs but no bees. I see some of my bees on the other plants, large daisies and late flowering lavender. I have stopped feeding and maybe they are conserving energy but I would have expected more activity. I am worried that the varroa may be causing lethargy or the bees simply have not “aclimatised” to my locale very well.
Crooked Honey Comb
In September, work and holidays meant there was a period of two weeks when I had no time to do anything other than top up the feeder in the hive. It was during this period that the bees got busy and started filling the super. The problem is the comb is not straight and in some cases links across bars. The time to get things sorted would have been right at the beginning but that opportunity is past and it is simply too late in the season to go in and clean things up. That will have to wait until the beginning of next year.
The problem appears to be that either the bees do not start centrally on the bar or they extend one side more than the other. This expansion is uncontrolled where there is no other comb to restrain them. This can allow the bees to expand the comb into the space required by the next comb and so that next piece of comb goes off kilter.