July in the Northwest Apiary

Things will begin to dry out this month. For those in the cities, you can still rely on people’s yards and gardens. Folks in the city seem to water to some degree. For those in the rural areas, pumpkin fields will provide a good source of nectar. Also areas where farmers are irrigating pastures there will be a good nectar source from sub-clover.

Make sure your hives are queenright  by looking for eggs and larvae.  If the brood pattern is poor, there is still plenty of time to requeen.  This time of year, the queens are of very good quality.  If there is a reduction of nectar and pollen that the hive is bringing in, the queen will respond by a reduction in brood production.  So keep that in mind.

Continue to provide water for your bees. Salt water is preferred. Providing water is a neighborly thing to do. It helps to keep your bees out of the neighbors swimming pools and bird baths.

During the hot weather, don’t forget to hydrate yourself.  I remember working the bees in the pumpkin fields in very hot weather, near 100°F.  The water jug I took was to small.  Later in the day, after running out of water, I experienced some health issues.  Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

There have been several questions about the clustering of bees on the front of the hives.  This is what they call “bee bearding” and it’s very common during the hot weather.  They are busy cooling the hive.

Mid July is about the latest that you can make up nucs for overwintering.  Any splits or nucs may need feeding, depending on your location.  Nucs don’t have as big of a work force that a regular hive has.  This year (2015) some locations are already experiencing an end of any honey flow.  It is drying up very quickly this year.

Extract honey supers.

Be aware of robbing activity.  Most beekeepers won’t have a problem.  However, those beekeepers who have another beekeepers hives nearby may have a problem.  It’s always difficult to know where other beekeepers  may have set hives.  Also if you have many hives and one or two are weak, the weak hives are in jeopardy of being robbed out.  Take some time to observe what normal behavior of the bees is, so that you recognize other behaviors like robbing.

FLORA:  Lavender, White clover (in irrigated areas),  False Dandelion, Artichoke, Pumpkins, Squash, Onion, Borage, Red Clover (2nd cutting), Mimosa or Silk Tree, Canada Thistle, Bull Thistle, Russian Sage, Single Dahlias, Sunflowers, Scotch Heather, Bedding Plants, Various Herbs, and Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot).  In Central Oregon, the carrot seed is blooming.

It is surprising how many little weeds and things that the honeybees will work.  I’ve seen my bees working small weeds, Scottish moss, and some succulents that are in bloom.  Take time to look around.

Copyright 2015-Richard Farrier-All rights reserved