A question to the experienced ladies and gentleman.
When and what are you looking for at that last check of the year, for overwintering?
When is the last check in say Kansas, and what are you looking for? Do you take it apart to look for the queen? I would like some tips from the trained eye'd folks here.
Thanks in advance.........
The weather decides a lot of things for me. Sometimes winter moves in in October and sometimes it doesn't until December. I try to get a good inspection in between now and the end of October.
Look for adequate stores and make a note of the pollen stores for spring. Try to balance any inequities. A hive with lots of bees will need more stores. One with few bees may need to be combined etc.
Of course, check for Varroa and see how you are doing and if you think they are bad, treat with something. A 24 hour drop test up around 50 would worry me. Also, but don't count on it as your only test, look for varroa on the bees. If you have learned to spot it it isn't so hard to see. If you haven't learned to spot them you won't see any, but I like to look for them anyway. Look for sickly bees. Probably brood rearing has dropped off by this time (here anyway). I'd be worried if it hasn't because they may end up with too many bees. There may still be SOME brood, but there shouldn't be a lot. I'm not sure what I'd do if there was though, except maybe put a little brood in the hives that aren't so strong so they will have some nice young bees coming into fall.
Actually, some years, I wait too long and winter sets in and I just peek in the top and call it good.
I talk about things you can do, but usually, unless things are really out of balance, I just leave them alone.
I like that. "peeking in the top and calling it good" snicker...
Thanks as always Micheal.
Another thing to do, besides check for stores and put on mouse gaurds, is pull any queen excluders so the queen won't get left behind by a cluster moving up.