July Beekeeping Activity

July is time to harvest Honey in TN – it is ready by now if it ever will be, and you need to get it off of hives so that you can treat for Varroa mites.  The market for local honey is quite good in our area with prices as high as $18 per quart in good sales locations – don’t undersell your hard earned honey!  Advertise for free on LSN or on our club website Local Honey page or on other internet local honey sites.

July is robbing season in Mid TN – so take all precautions to avoid setting it off.  It is also SHB and Varroa mite season – so do your inspections, and try to keep your hives strong and healthy.  Plan to complete varroa treatments before August 15 to insure that the fall build up can proceed with healthy bees.  It may be too hot for MAQS – formic acid – to be safely used so consider Apiguard (naturally occuring mitacide) which actually works better when it is hot – but requires more than one treatment, or Apivar – amitraz synthetic – which only requires one but leaves synthetic chemical residue in the hive.  You just have to learn about them and choose your poison.

Brood rearing is usually considerably curtailed during July and August because the normally hot dry conditions result in a dearth of nectar – although pollen may remain plentiful.

Big strong hives may be quite aggressive – wear your veil when in the bee yard.

First year beekeepers may need to continue to feed in order to get hives sufficiently built out – especially if you already made splits – but beware of  robbing if you are in the vicinity of any other bee hives.  Be careful not to spill feed and keep entrances as small as possible – refrain from using honey-bee-healthy or other “feeding stimulants” at this time, because they aggravate robbing.   Consider fitting your hives with robber screens.

You may consider moving hives and resources around a bit in order to equalize hive sizes and strengths – this activity can continue until mid fall, but it is best done in moderate steps.

According to Ed Holcomb – Requeen  between July 10 and August 21  if your existing queen has already performed through one or more intensive brood production periods.   It is important that your queen is performing at her peak potential during the fall build up.  Without a strong hive population going into winter it will be impossible to build up sufficiently to exploit the short nectar flow that is available in the south.

Some people believe that Queens which are mated after the summer solstice – Around June 22 – perform especially well during fall build up because of the shorting of the days at that time.  It seems to possibly be true.