Submitted by Jim Orem
I have been watching the goldenrod turn from bright yellow to gold and soon it will be brown. The honeybees are already starting to work the asters. We pulled supers and harvested honey on Monday. Now it is time to think about fall and winter.
If your hives are still light after goldenrod you may want to feed 2:1 sugar syrup. We use a hive top feeder for fall feeding. Sometimes we just combine the hives that are light with ones that are heavy.
Entrance reducers are on the list of things to build for this month. We won't put them on yet but it is time to have them ready. I usually find myself putting them on the last possible minute. Usually it is raining or sleeting and it will be around frosting time. I make my own entrance reducers. They have a small piece of metal on the front that keeps the mice out. Keeping the hives 12"-16" off the ground also helps to keep the mice out. The reducers are the same thickness as the entrance but they are wider than the standard 3/4" that you can buy. It tucks under the bottom box and is still easy to pull out in the spring. Sometimes we are removing reducers before we have time to go through and clean for spring.
The nails should just hold the reducer in place not be nailed down tight. Leave the heads stick up so you can pull them easily in the spring. The entrance is now about 3/8" by about 2". It can easily be cleaned out with a pencil when the dead bees pile up on the inside.
Some of our hives have a screened bottom board that stays on all year around. The bottom is still covered to protect it from the cold winds. If we are using a regular bottom board we will prop the back end up about a half inch. This keeps the water draining out. The screen does that in the screened bottom board.
The shim is in the lower right above the concrete block and the bottom board. the little pieces of tin cover the holes I put in for ventilation in the summer time. The inner cover goes notch up and we pull the top as far foreword as we can to allow air and bees to pass through the top if the bottom gets blocked.
This hive is ready to go into fall and possibly winter. Sometime around thanksgiving we will pull the inner cover off and add the candy board.