I have three colonies which are all doing well. We have some goldenrod in bloom here in central New Jersey, but it seems to me that it's not a great year for goldenrod for whatever reason.
I want to treat for mites and get geared up for later fall and moving into winter with some feeding of 2:1 to build up some stores in one of the hives. The other two at last check each had nearly a full deep of stores.
How long should I wait for a possible goldenrod harvest before I give up and move forward with pre-winter steps?
I'm in Toms River and kept bees here for about 4 years. I've never had an appreciable fall flow here in that time, hope it's just bad luck but I think it's likely just lack of goldenrod and aster in the densely packed suburbs. I think it's better to err on the side of feeding early just in case because of that. I try not to open the hives past halloween
For what it's worth, my area of rural southern NY still has some flow, probably through September. Nothing too exciting, but you know, something.
Around mid-October it gets kinda late to feed syrup, but there's always dry sugar.
I can't speak to your mite situation, but this might be the key issue. As you probably already know, you can legally use formic with supers on. Alternatively, if the honey is just for personal consumption, I personally would be comfortable using a thymol-based product. Thymol is the main flavor ingredient in thyme and a lot of mouthwashes, so I figure whatever dose becomes harmful to humans, it must taste more like mouthwash than mouthwash does! And I'd guess that even a small amount of mouthwash mixed in with honey would make it taste pretty gross. *shrug*
early goldenrod does not produce nectar. this can start blooming the end of july. there will also be japanese knotweed blooming at this time if you have areas with loamy wet soil. goldenrod flow will start by the middle of september IF there is a flow to be had. lots of soil moisture through summer (we got that this year!) coupled with cool nights and warm days get the nectar pumping into the flowers. how do you know the bees are collecting goldenrod? you will smell it when curing! some describe as caramel, some as dirty socks. either way, that is when i add a super or two in hopes of collecting something. i treat and make sure my hives are up to winter weight in summer before this happens because i will pull those supers in the second half of october and that is getting late to be feeding in any appreciable amounts.
treat very soon if you want it to help. you want healthy nurse bees to raise you winter bees. watch your temps if using a formic treatment. i would shoot to apply this saturday evening but that is a small window.
Super helpful information, thank you. I am going to take a look at all three hives this weekend and make an assessment. I live on a small farm, and there is another farm behind mine, together roughly 100 acres. There is some goldenrod, but not very much compared to other recent years. I didn't notice any appreciable Fall flow last year. I think I will likely err on the side of caution and treat for mites now with the goal of getting all three colonies thru winter and hope for a good Spring 2020 season.