Late this afternoon I happened to have an opportunity to stand in the yard with a fairly new beekeeper and in the 20 minutes or so as the sun begin to set behind the trees, we stood there and watched orientation flights of the bees in several colonies. The first colony started and as we discussed what was happening, another just a few feet away also began to fly. We commented on how it did look like a dance, and now having seen this he understood the difference between orientation flights and a robbing event. Sometimes, just observing is the best teacher.
For most of us, we are in that period of the year where there is very little nectar production so robbing can be a serious problem. Keep an eye on your colonies, and reduce your entrances to make it easier on the colony to guard the “door”. If you are extracting, be conservative. It is better to leave too much on the colony, rather than too little. Actually, I do not think it is possible to leave too much.
I’ve started thinking about winter preparations – yes winter. I need strong colonies going into winter and that takes time. Queen performance, current colony population, quantity and quality of brood, and of course the amount of food stores. These are the things you should be looking at when performing an inspection. I know it is hot, and it sure is easier to stay inside, but take advantage of the early morning, or just before dusk lower temperatures. I find the girls are quite obliging of me at those times.
Do not forget to sign up for a time slot to sit at our Tulsa State Fair booth – I know I’ve always enjoyed the time there just “talkin’ bees”.
Thanks for being a part of our group, and I’ll see you at the next meeting!