Advice For Beekeepers In September
There has been a lot of chatter among some beekeepers about splitting their hives. I think, as nicely as I can put it, that this is the wrong move at this time of year. At this point, you should be thinking about treatments. This will mean you will be splitting already treated hives as well as making your treatments more effective over a smaller number of bees. It will also keep treatment costs down. Why treat 40 split hives, when you can treat 20 hives initially. You would be doubling your treatment requirements for no reason. Treat your apiary before you split and treat for varroa appropriately and properly. Read those instructions or ask if you are unsure how to use your treatment or which treatment to get. There is no harm in asking questions as there is always something to learn.
Drones, drones, drones. Just because you have drones right now doesn’t mean they are sexually mature. Some studies show that drones can be sexually mature at 6-10 days old while some argue it is after 20 days. Right now, the weather is extremely temperamental, and we are still getting cold evenings and plenty of rain. Even if a queen bee goes for a mating flight in a week or two, I am not confident in her ability to come back safe and sound and not be caught in a sudden burst of rain let alone find the small cluster of this season’s drones.
Right now, I am trying to build up my hives, so they are strong, feeding and treating them. Then in the middle of October, I plan to split when the weather is better, and the hive is stronger. This gives my splits a better start and makes for easier ongoing splits in the season. I would suggest to any beekeeper that they should be feeding and then treating their hives, waking their queens up from the Winter and getting them to lay.