What should I be doing right now?
October is a transition month from fall to winter in our weather. Generally, the weather is relatively benign for the first two or three weeks, and then winter arrives in earnest by Halloween, or so. This is our last opportunity to feed syrup and finalize winter preparation before dormancy.
- Continue to check for light hives. Heft hives (lift one side up). They should be notably heavy. If not, feed a saturated sugar solution (60% sugar; balance water by weight). Feed early enough to allow syrup to ripen.
- Place a barrier between the bottom of the hive and the ground. Pallets are ideal for this.
- Keep hives exposed to the sun with entrances faced away from prevailing winds.
- Tilt hives so water drains away from the entrance. Ensure proper ventilation and that lids do
- Add entrance reducers/mouse guards.
- All superfluous items within the hive, e.g., Varroa treatments, queen excluders, and extra
rims, should be removed by now.
- Find and remove deadouts. Place all unused equipment in storage.
- Protect frames. Moth crystals (paradichlorobenzene) are typically used for this purpose.
- Stack supers (or brood boxes), and put crystals on a piece of paper on top of every 5th super, or so. Then place a lid on top. Vapors kill moths and larvae, but not eggs. Freezing is an option and will kill eggs. Also, wax moth activity is suppressed if supers (and the frames within) are left open and exposed to light.
- If hives are opened/lids lifted late in the active season (or past), the propolis seals have been broken. Take care to secure the lids to keep them from being blown off during winter winds.
The above information was excerpted from the Oregon State Beekeepers Association webpage, found at: http://www.orsba.org/htdocs/home.php (June 2, 2012). The Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club extends a special thanks to Todd Balsiger, Forest Grove, OR for permission to post this information.
For previous or future monthly beekeeping tips, please download the file below:
Washington State University Apiary Program
WSU offers a couple workshops throughout the year. Please check their website for more information: