Fall in the Apiary

Fall is close to ending at my home / queen yard. For the bee breeding project, I started about 60 new colonies for the season to evaluate as potential breeding stock for 2013. About 20 of those where selected against by natural causes, leaving just under 40 colonies (some of which are pictured below) to evaluate. I’ve completed two evaluations of colony strength, diseases, and pest levels. In spring, I’ll do a third and final evaluation.

To prepare them for winter, since the end of July, I’ve feed each colony about 9 gallons of syrup and 1.5 pounds of pollen. This was required to start and keep this many colonies in one place for a comparable evaluation. Each colony was required to build the majority of their combs to give the opportunity to evaluate them for comb building and colony growth. With the warm weather we expect this weekend, I’ll probably try and give them one more feeding before winter. A warm fall and winter is not necessarily good for the bees in our area because they become active while few flowers are available.