I don’t really remember a July in North Carolina that was not hot. There might have been one, but not in recent years.
July is a time when bees might have a tough time finding flowers to forage on, especially in highly agricultural areas.
It is important in beekeeping to NOT steal all of the honey that the bees have so meticulously gathered in the spring nectar flow months. Sadly because of unscrupulous practices and teaching, many beekeepers are taught that you take honey after the spring flow, not taking into consideration that these are the stores that the bees gather in order to have food through the dearth periods of summer.
That is what I was taught as a new beekeeper, and I just did what I was taught (a BIG mistake that I am learning, in ALL areas of life!!). Then the teaching is, to just feed them sugar water if they are short on food!! REALLY????
Biggest mistake ever! I lost 3 hives within a couple of weeks of steeling most of their honey. The bees just left. I came back from a bee conference where I was suppose to be learning how to be a good beekeeper, only to find that the information that these clubs were teaching, was very flawed.
I knew immediately why the bees had left and I learned a lesson that year. A very hard lesson!!
So this summer it is Hot, but I have also learned that bees can deal with HOT, they cannot, however, deal with Hot and no food!! After all, the bees keep the Queen at around 90 degrees all year round. Even in the winter. As long as there is an available water source for the bees to consume and also to bring back to the hive to use as a sort of swamp cooler.
Yes, they will “hang on the front porch” of the hive….called bearding, when the temps get and stay in the 90’s. I have written previous blogs about my using insulated hives all year long. I have found that there is less bearding on my insulated hives.
I no longer take honey in spring after the flow, but instead leave it all on the hives until I feel that there is really a surplus of honey through and after a dearth period.
Here again, is where planting diverse forage for your bees is so very important. Right now at the end of July, my bees are foraging on vast amounts of Mountain Mint. It has been blooming for almost the entire month of July. A reason for that is the continual rain that we have been receiving this summer. Yes, the weeds can get out of control with the amount of rain that we have been getting, but it is keeping flowers blooming on my property that is so desperately needed for the pollinators.
This Mountain Mint is a Pollinator Magnet!!
Another July celebrity in the garden is the “Frog Fruit” Phyla nodiaflora
Just like the Mountain Mint, the pollinators are all over it in July. Many small skipper butterflies also enjoy the daily nectar.
This 4-5 inch spreading ground cover is full of small white flowers. I am very happy to let this one grow where ever it wants to and it trans-plants to other area very nicely.
My month is almost over….August is next. It going to be another HOT ONE!!!!
Until next month……stay cool.
Fall 2020 is on the way!!!!