The removal and processing of main flow honey is wrapping up, just as threats of hive pests are on the horizon
The removal and processing of main flow honey is wrapping up, just as threats of hive pests are on the horizon. Therefore, it’s a perfect time for hive maintenance. By now, there are also limited active pollen producing plants available. However, the “second season” of honey production may surprise you.
It’s very important to monitor hives closely as varroa mites and the small hive beetles are very active during summer months. There are many treatment options, such as Apiguard, MiteAway II and Hopguard that will help combat mites.
August is approaching and is a tricky time of year for beekeepers regarding pest management. Certainly, don’t forget about the threat of varroa mites, but small hive beetles can become an issue at this point in the year too. There are two viable chemical controls for small hive beetles. GardStar, a soil drench pesticide for the perimeter and Check Mite +, a strip of material dosed with pesticide placed around the hive, are both effective.
American or European foulbrood caused by a spore forming bacteria, is by far the most damaging disease that can occur to a hive. However, if found early, the hive can be treated with Terramycin dust.
As for all pesticide usage, it is important to follow the product direction label. Remember, it’s quite hot in the Panhandle, even throughout the fall. Be sure that the hive is well ventilated and feed your colonies, if light. Other than integrated pest management strategies, some beekeepers also replace their queen in late summer or early fall on an annual basis. New queens lay at a higher rate than older ones. The result is a larger population of worker bees, which increases honey production.
The remaining honey production for the year will most likely be at a minimum. But with an assortment of viable plants blooming soon, the opportunity to produce good honey is just around the corner. From now until October, plants such as Spanish needle, palm, red bay, partridge pea, cotton, spotted mint, golden rod, aster and sumac and various clovers will be in bloom.
As a special note, remember that Florida black bears are active this time of year. Although they pose a minor threat to bee colonies, it’s always wise to have preventative measures in place. Investing in an electric fence is probably the best deterrent. However, for nuisance bear issues please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922.
The Florida Beekeeper Management Calendar is a handy guide that every beekeeper should possess. The calendar includes recommendations for major management considerations like when to treat for parasites or pathogens, and the local flora in bloom at that time. This management calendar is NOT exhaustive. It is meant merely as a reference or starting point for honey bee colony management in Florida.
Following these hive management measures will help ensure your honey production will yield great results year after year. Call Gulf County Extension at 639-3200 for more details.
Supporting information for this article can be found in the UF/IFAS EDIS publication, “Florida Beekeeper Management Calendar” by Dr. James D. Ellis and C.M. Zettel Nalen: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848
UF/IFAS Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution.