Beekeeper’s Calendar: September

September Beekeeping

For the first time in months, I didn’t feel like I would keel over from heat stroke when I put on my gear last weekend. We had a brief snap of early fall weather in Brooklyn and the bees and I made the most of it.

September’s goldenrod and aster in bloom may mean you’ll get a nice fall honey flow. If you’ve been checking your mites regularly, you’ll have a good idea whether you should extract a fall crop or whether you should be treating for mites instead. You also won’t want to take off the honey if you’re actively feeding.

Speaking of feeding, how heavy is that hive? You’ve gotten your honey, but do the bees have enough for the winter? You want at least 60lbs of honey so there are ample stores over winter. If your boxes feel light, start feeding syup until the bees won’t take more.

You’ll notice your queen’s laying will slow down even more this month. The brood nest won’t be huge, but you should be able to spot fresh larva and eggs. Drones will also start to disappear in September.

Queen Bee Arthur’s hive at Myrtle Village Green in Brooklyn

If the brood nest looks bare, maybe fall requeening is for you. While many beekeepers requeen in the spring, there are some advantages to tackling it this time of year – like having a vivacious young queen to winter over with the hive and build up your population in the spring. Bees accept new queens best during a light nectar flow, which makes the early fall work well. Queens may also cost a little less in fall than in spring.

Do your best to make sure your colony is really queenless. If the queen is still alive, you’ll need to find and kill her before introducing the new queen. Also check for queen cells in the hive before introducing.

Did any Jewish beekeepers out there use their own fresh honey at Rosh Hashanah dinner this month? Share your sweetest new year recipes in the comments below.

In bloom: Goldenrod, aster, mint, thistle