Bees and beekeepers are very busy in July. Your hive is buzzing along in the summer weather with plentiful nectar sources. Monitor your bees health and home as the honey continues to flow.
Honey bees slow greatly in making wax and completing the spring nectar flow. Be prepared to extract honey. Remember, the comb cells should be 90% capped and the remaining uncapped honey should not be able to run out of the cells for it to be completely ripe for extraction.
The population of strong hives should peak about mid-July. Weaker hives may need to be combined or re-queened as winter survival requires strong colonies. If the weather is good, nectar flow may continue all month. However, usually we get a slowdown (dearth) as the month progresses.
When the weather is hot, large numbers of bees will begin to cool themselves on the hive’s exterior. The bee hive can also use 1.5 gallons of water per day to cool a hive. Plan ahead and make sure the closest water supply isn't your neighbors swimming pool.
In July, your hives will need attention in a variety of ways. Provide a fresh supply of water located near the hives, and continue to inspect for varroa mites and brood patterns. The health of your bees should be a major concern.
Although most swarming behavior stops in late June, continue to watch your hives for late swarms. Also, be on the lookout for robbing wasps, hornets, and other honey bees. During the Summer, there may be a dearth (period of no nectar flow) that causes them to look for weak hives to rob.
Some indicators of nectar flows are:
Fresh white wax on comb and top bars
Bees are easy to work with
Foundation is drawn out quickly
Bees fanning at the entrance
Large amounts of nectar ripening in the honey supers
Knowledge of nectar plants in your area and their bloom cycle will aid the beekeeper in anticipating flow times
Provide some shade to your hives during the hottest part of the day so they can cool the hive effectively. Too much heat can cause the bees to spend more time cooling the hive than gathering nectar to make honey. Also, consider using screened transportation inner covers in place of the standard inner cover. This will provide better circulation and help to keep the bees cool.
Add supers (as needed) to alleviate crowding and to encourage the bees to store more honey than they need. Check for surplus honey and harvest (if needed).
July Beekeeping Checklist
Estimated time needed: 2-3 hours*
*Time estimates do not include equipment repair and cleaning or honey extraction.
Extract ripe honey
Provide a fresh water supply (daily)
Add honey supers
Attend your local bee club meeting
Flowers Bees Love in Summer
Bloom times vary depending on the variety, seasonal weather and elevation.
- Moss Rose (Portulaca)
- Beardtongue (Penstemon)
- 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
- Rose of Sharon
- Russian Sage
- Shrub Roses
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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