Beekeeping in July

 
Much like it was in June, the bees and the beekeeper will be very busy in July.

July: Bees

Honey bees slow greatly in making wax and completing the spring nectar flow. Be prepared to extract honey. Remember, the comb cells should be 90% capped and the remaining uncapped honey should not be able to run out of the cells for it to be completely ripe for extraction.

The population of strong hives should peak about mid-July. Weaker hives may need to be combined or re-queened as winter survival requires strong colonies. If the weather is good, nectar flow may continue all month. However, usually we get a slowdown (dearth) as the month progresses. When the weather is hot, large numbers of bees will begin to cool themselves on the hive’s exterior. The bee hive can also use 1.5 gallons of water per day to cool a hive. Plan ahead and make sure the closest water supply isn’t your neighbors swimming pool.

July: Beekeeping

In July, your hives will need attention in a variety of ways. Provide a fresh supply of water located near the hives, and continue to inspect for varroa mites and brood patterns. The health of your bees should be a major concern.

Although most swarming behavior stops in late June, continue to watch your hives for late swarms. Also, be on the lookout for robbing wasps, hornets, and other honey bees. During the Summer, there may be a dearth (period of no nectar flow) that causes them to look for weak hives to rob.

Some indicators of nectar flows are:

  • Fresh white wax on comb and top bars
  • Bees are easy to work with
  • Foundation is drawn out quickly
  • Bees fanning at the entrance
  • Large amounts of nectar ripening in the honey supers
  • Knowledge of nectar plants in your area and their bloom cycle will aid the beekeeper in anticipating flow times

 
Provide some shade to your hives during the hottest part of the day so they can cool the hive effectively. Too much heat can cause the bees to spend more time cooling the hive than gathering nectar to make honey. Also, consider using screened transportation inner covers in place of the standard inner cover. This will provide better circulation and help to keep the bees cool.

Add supers (as needed) to alleviate crowding and to encourage the bees to store more honey than they need. Check for surplus honey and harvest (if needed).

Estimated time needed: 2-3 hours*

July: Checklist

Extract ripe honey
Provide a fresh water supply (daily)
Add honey supers
Attend your local bee club meeting

 

Flowers Bees Love in Summer

*Bloom times vary depending on the variety, seasonal weather and elevation.

Annual Flowers
    Ageratum
    Alyssum
    Begonias
    Dahlia
    Geranium
    Impatiens
    Lobelia
    Marigold
    Moss Rose (Portulaca)
    Petunia
    Salvia
    Vinca
    Zinnia

     

    Perennial Flowers
      Beardtongue (Penstemon)
      Bee Balm
      Blanketflower
      Blazing Star
      Coneflower
      Culver’s Root
      Echinacea
      Evening Primrose
      False Sunflower
      Fireweed
      Foxglove
      Giant Hyssop
      Great Blue Lobelia
      Harebell
      Hollyhock
      Horsemint
      Ironweed
      Joe-Pye Weed & Boneset
      Lavender
      Milkweed
      Mountain Mint
      Phlox
      Prairie Clover
      Prickly Pear
      Rattlesnake Master
      Rudbeckia
      Shasta Daisy
      Stonecrop
      Sunflower
      Tickseed
      Wild Bergamot
      Wild Sage
      Vervain
      Yarrow

     

    Shrubs
      Bluebeard
      Butterfly Bush
      Potentilla
      Rose of Sharon
      Russian Sage
      Shrub Roses
      Spirea
      Summersweet

     

    LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT MONTH?

    READ BEEKEEPING IN AUGUST

    General Notes

    Weather is the ultimate calendar when taking care of bees. Depending on the weather and your bee type, the time frame for activities should be adjusted earlier or later as necessary. You will have more success adapting to the bee’s schedule, rather than them adapting to yours.

    Beekeepers are many and varied; some choose a hands off approach, while some are very hands on. Some choose to medicate and others are using other Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods which do not include medication. Whatever your preference, you can and should adapt this calendar to fit your needs. Thank you for keeping bees, and let us know if you have any questions regarding your hive. We’re always happy to help.

    *Time estimates do not include equipment repair and cleaning or honey extraction.

     


    Information for this article was provided by Kent Mickelsen, Utah Certified Nurseryman, IFA Country Store; Utah State University Extension; and Slide Ridge Honey in Mendon, Utah.

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