Your bees will be busy again in August, however nectar and pollen are in shorter supply than in previous months. They may become more flighty in search of nectar and pollen. There’s less to do for the beekeeper this month, but you’ll need to continue to monitor and care for the hive.
In August, the colony will be at its peak population or just past it, and growth will diminish as the month goes by. The queen, however, will begin laying eggs for winter bees late in the month.
You’ll probably notice the bees bearding up on the front entrance of the hive in the evenings. This is simply the bees’ way of cooling on hot summer days.
The end of summer is when other, stronger hives or wasps and hornets will attempt to steal honey from weaker hives. One sure sign is when your bees appear to be fighting at the entrance.
By now, you can relax about swarming. It was essentially over in July. You’ll still want to keep a watchful eye on the hive though. Problems may arise with a weak hive, mites, diseases, parasites and skunks.
Be on the lookout for robbing activity from other bees or wasps. If you notice your bees fighting at the entrance, help defend the hive by reducing the size of the entrance or setting up wasp and yellow jacket traps.
If you notice bearding at the front entrance of the hive, the colony may be cooling themselves on hot summer days. It may also be an indication of inadequate ventilation or a lack of room in the hive. Try adding a super (if there’s still time to fill it up) and increasing the ventilation by propping the cover up about ¼″ or installing a screened moving inner cover. Also provide a fresh supply of water near the hive.
The mite population will probably be high at this time, especially in second year colonies. Test and treat your hive with approved methods when honey supers are in place. Once all honey supers have been removed, several other treatment options will become available. Use only U.S.D.A approved treatments.
Continue to monitor brood patterns and queen activity throughout the month. In late August, the queen will begin to lay eggs for the winter bees. Ensure a strong winter colony by checking the honey stores beginning at the end of the month. There should be plenty of honey in the brood boxes. Remember, a strong hive going into winter increases the chances for survival in the cold months ahead.
Now is the time to ensure your bees will have enough room to last the summer. Avoid adding too much though or they won’t fill the supers before the final harvest time. Follow the rule of 7/10: if 10 frames are fully capped, add another super if it’s early in the month.
However, if it’s late in the month, don’t add supers. This’ll force the bees to start back filling the upper brood box with winter supplies. It’ll also approximately coincide with the beginning of the second (smaller) nectar flow, which will help supply pollen and nectar for winter stores. Fall blooming plants, such as aster, goldenrod, sunflowers and others, will enable the bees to cap off their winter reserves.
August Beekeeping Checklist
Estimated time needed: 1-2 hours*
*Time estimates do not include equipment repair and cleaning or honey extraction.
Extract ripe honey
Provide a fresh water supply (daily)
Remove the queen excluder until next season
Apply the third treatment of Salvation Salve
Test and treat (if needed) for Varroa Mites. Read labels carefully and don’t contaminate your honey crop.
Check hive weight to begin getting ready for winter
Attend your local bee club meeting
Flowers Bees Love in Late Summer
Bloom times vary depending on the variety, seasonal weather and elevation.
- Moss Rose (Portulaca)
- Bee Balm
- Blazing Star
- Culver’s Root
- Evening Primrose
- False Sunflower
- Giant Hyssop
- Great Blue Lobelia
- Joe-Pye Weed & Boneset
- Mountain Mint
- Prairie Clover
- Prickly Pear
- Rattlesnake Master
- Shasta Daisy
- Wild Bergamot
- Wild Sage
- Butterfly Bush
- Ground Cover Roses
- Rose of Sharon
- Russian Sage
Other Beekeeping Considerations
Weather is the ultimate calendar when taking care of bees. Depending on the weather and your bee type, the time frame for activities should be adjusted earlier or later as necessary. You will have more success adapting to the bee’s schedule, rather than them adapting to yours.
Beekeepers are many and varied; some choose a hands off approach, while some are very hands on. Some choose to medicate and others are using other Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods which do not include medication. Whatever your preference, you can and should adapt this calendar to fit your needs.
Thank you for keeping bees, and let us know if you have any questions regarding your hive. We’re always happy to help.
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