The wet summer is upon us with La-Nina causing havoc across a lot of Australia at the moment. my thoughts are with our Aussie farmers and those affected by the devastation that these massive rain events can cause.
So for us as the Keepers of the bees..... well, it was always going to be about preparation.
I think by now we all know that we can't predict the weather, but we can safely assume that these events will continue to occur in varying extremes. So it's always about Beeing Wiser for it.
Some top tips for you to ponder on from me....
- always leave 3/4 to a full size box of honey stores in the super. For a strong colony they can consume 1-2kg of honey a day if they can't get out to forage.
- for a small colony (brood box only or Nuc) consider feeding sugar syrup to get them through or immediately after rain period.
- ensure hives are tilted forward to allow water egress to escape.
- ensure hive are off the ground - increase life span of hiveware, allows ventilation, reduces condensation in the hive.
Post rain event- higher than average humidity is often felt. This comes with other problems.....
- Food again - nectar will have washed away and pollen will be affected- check your hives and know their stores - feed as necessary if required.
- pests Small hive beetle will love the humidity - especially for reproduction- so keep your traps stocked up, apithors in place and if your using DE keep breaking the crust off it.
- chalkbrood will be in issue in most hives on the coast- again the fungus will be loving the conditions... feed them if a small colony as mentioned above and if you have a super on lift up the affected frames into the super (make sure queen isn't in it)
- last resort change the queen for a younger one.
- mould on the boxes and condensation... the bees will clean it, on the outside a watered down white vinegar mix wiped over the box will help and not upset the girls too much. And lastly watch for the un-obvious.... spiders, snakes, scorpions seeking refuge from the wet, slip trip and fall hazards as well and tree branches falling off.
Stay safe and beekeep with a friend if possible!
The Backyard Beekeeper