There are two things I have been reminded of recently: 1) all colonies in the same bee yard will not all grow the same, and 2) colonies that look great in numbers and food storage in July is no guarantee they will still look great in September.

I poked my head in two hives this weekend that I had not checked on for about 6-7 weeks.  Last time I inspected them they were full of bees, several frames of capped brood plus more open brood and lots of capped honey.  This most recent inspection revealed the brood pattern was good but smaller than I expected, and food stores were now low.  I had checked other hives nearby more recently and saw they had a population and level of food stores that I was comfortable with for that time of year. I even pulled several supers from those other colonies and with confidence, I concluded I didn’t need to check all the colonies at that site. The two I delayed checking, ASSUMING they were likely performing the same as other hives near them, was a bad assumption. We know and have discussed at length that the SHB and Varroa are at their peak populations in August.  An inspection in July may give us a sense of confidence when we see so much drawn comb, and boxes thick with bees.  Then Continue reading