The signs of Fall are all around us.  The bees sense it, too.  The drones (male bees) are being evicted from the hives, which is a normal colony practice for winter.  I’ve finished feeding heavy sugar syrup, adding to the colony winter stores, following the driest, hottest summer on record here.  No honey this year!  It was just too hot and dry!

All three colonies appear to be healthy and have been treated with essential oils, both in sugar frosting patty form and fed in sugar syrup.  Varroa mite count is more than acceptable and I find no evidence of Small Hive Beetle, was moths nor any disease present.  I’m not sure what to expect for a winter, but I believe it may be a harsh one for us.  I’m also not familiar with overwintering bees in this part of the country.  This is all out experimentation.  The couple of beekeepers I do know about around here suffered quite a bit of colony loss over the Summer.  I did not, but I was also following different management practices than used here.

The weather is still warm enough for the bees to forage and there is a reasonable number of Fall wildflower sources around the area.  I see foragers bring back quite a bit of pollen and nectar, so they are still working well.  Now, it’s a matter of patience over the winter and see what Spring will bring.  It’s just a time of waiting and counting on the bees to follow their natural instincts.  I’ll start feeding sugar syrup and artificial pollen as soon as reasonable in the Spring.  I want to give the bees the best possible opportunity to thrive this coming season.