August Apiary Inspector Notes

August 13, 2019

Jaime Garza, County of San Diego | Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures Apiary/Agricultural Standards Inspector

Dear Beekeeper, 

I hope your bee colonies were able to produce some surplus honey this year. I spoke to many beekeepers whose colonies produced a good amount of honey this year. 

As the season progresses into late summer/early fall you should consider the following for maintaining healthy bee colonies: 

  • Monitoring/managing Varroa mites: many beekeepers are beginning to monitor for Varroa mites at this time of year. Two sampling methods are the sugar shake or alcohol wash method. You do not want to have more than 3 mites per 100 bees sampled. You can see the Honey Bee Health videos on Varroa sampling methods - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgPfT9FQxLc. There is also a helpful Tool Guide on Varroa Management that you can reference for Varroa mite management techniques - https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/HBHC-Guide_Varroa_Interactive_7thEdition_June2018.pdf.

  • Monitoring for American foulbrood – if a colony appears weak or has died you will want to check for the highly contagious bacterial disease called American foulbrood – see link for more information https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/HBHC__AFB-EFB-Final-061119.pdf.

  • Provide water with landing sites for your bees – a bee colony is like other livestock or pet and needs water to drink and to cool off the hive. On very hot days one established bee colony can go through 1 gallon of water per day.

  • Provide adequate ventilation during hot days so bees can cool off.

  • Ant control – weed control, ant bait stations and moats surrounding hive stand legs are some ways beekeepers keep ants from invading their bee colonies.

  • Over-defensive honey bee colonies – honey bees displaying over-defensive characteristics should be requeened or euthanized. The longer an over-defensive colony remains in the environment allows the queen to spread their unwanted “mean” genetics through the drones that are produced in the colony which will go on to mate with other honey bee virgin queens in the environment which dilutes the gentle tempered honey bees. 

As always, feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns or if you would like to request a Hive health and Beekeeping Best Management Practices review at your apiary. 

Thank you,
Jaime Garza | County of San Diego | Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures | Apiary/Agricultural Standards Inspector | Phone: 858-614-7738 | Email: jaime.garza@sdcounty.ca.gov | Website: www.sdcountybees.org