Just want to mention for those who have nucs, starter hives and perhaps weak hives. This is the time of year that a strong hive with nothing to do, will start picking on a weak hive. When easy nectar flow stops, the stronger hives can clean out a smaller/weaker hive before you know it.
When you have multiple hives at one location there are several things you could do. Each may achieve a different result based on your choice. You can:
Swap frames to equal out the hives.
Switch hive locations to again equalize numbers.
Start reducing the entrances so weaker hives can defend more easily.
Requeen those that are not producing good brood/numbers.
Think about combining soon. Weak hives going into fall may not have time to build adequate numbers. You'll just have dead hives come spring. And lose comb.
In doing alot of the management type items, most of the time I wish I would of started or accomplished them a little sooner. Now is the time to start planning with September right around the corner.
I must agree. I have found that a weak hive after the flow will just end up a dead hive. I never do it as soon as I should, but I either requeen or combine these hives so they have adequate time to prepare for winter. The ones I put off for later usually end up full of wax moths.
just curious about your season in Alabama. I'm in North Texas where we have pretty mild winters. Average first frost is around Nov 10 and last frost usually March 10. Trees begin to bloom in late february. We are on the line between zone 7 and 8 but I am told by the extension service the new climate maps put us in zone 8 (so much for debating global warming). Anyway, waiting to see how long the fall flow holds out when it starts. Summer still has another 4 weeks of teeth in it (98 tomorrow). I have a split that is still weak but will have to watch it at the end of october to see if it is strong enough. I've read a lot of books and posts about making it through the winter but not really sure how much honey and colony size I need to make it through. Thought Alabama might have a similar winter.
Sounds like your Winter is similar to ours. I have wintered succesfully in single deeps, and in double deeps. So far my most succesful wintering configuration has been 3 mediums. My thinking on how much honey they need for the Winter is based on cavity size. I don't know how it works up north, but here, I like to get them into wintering configuration by the end of July. Any splits I make I make then. I think it's important to mention here that if I'm going to split, I leave honey that would otherwise have been extracted so that both the parent colony and the split have plenty of feed. I don't like to feed sugar water. Anyway, By early to mid September these colonies need to look good. The cavity that I have them in needs to be full or nearly so of brood, honey/nectar, and pollen. They know how much of each they need. This indicates a "healthy" colony to me. Anything less and there could be a problem. They may have a weak queen, mite trouble, etc. If something isn't done at this point they often don't make it.
It is a good idea to periodically monitor brood nest reduction as that first frost approaches - as the volume of the brood nest decreases the empty cells should be being filled in with nectar. If they get caught by an early frost, they could have an empty band around the brood. I haven't experienced this down here, but I know the likelihood increases as you move north.