The Idea

Yellow sweet clover.

It’s summer:

  • the bees focus on storing food for winter
  • it’s time to prepare hives for hot weather
  • colony management is minimal
  • the beekeeper prepares for honey production
  • it’s time to control comb thickness
  • can harvest spring honey

The Details

The Bees

It’s summer:

  • spring nectar and pollen sources are done
  • the weather is settled and it’s hot
  • the clovers begin to yield their bounty

Colony priorities now shift from swarming to survival. They push to replace bees lost by swarming. Soon, hive populations are at an optimum size. And the rate of brood rearing decreases.

Hot Weather

It’s absolutely essential to prepare a tbh for the hot weather. And it’s absolutely essential to know how and when to work a tbh when it’s hot.

Have you read Heat? It’s a must read before working or managing a tbh when the weather’s hot.

Colony Management

Colony management is minimal. The broodnest is left alone.

Unless a colony is in trouble, inspections consist of a quick look into the honey storage area at the rear of the hive. The purpose? To manage the tbh for honey production.

Honey Production

Managing a tbh for honey production is a balancing act to:

  • maintain enough room for more surplus honey
  • enough open space near the broodnest to keep the bees motivated
  • enough honey reserves to prevent the bees from getting discouraged
  • shut down honey production early enough to allow lots of young, fat winter bees to develop
  • leave enough feed on for overwintering

Check out the Honey Production page for more details.

Comb Thickness

After the bees switch from swarming to winter survival, they attempt to pack as much food as possible directly above the broodnest core. This often results in bulging comb when the bees on one comb outpace those on an adjoining comb. And then rob adjacent comb space from the slower bees to store more honey.

These bulges usually consist of several inches of sealed honey near the top bar. Sometimes the bulges extend almost to the midrib of the adjoining comb.

It’s usually not a problem this time of year, as most broodnest work is done. And the bulges can be taken care of next spring.

But if the bulging comb interferes with tbh work, brush the bees off. And cut off the excess thickness with a serrated knife.

If the bulged comb is marginal brood comb or is due for replacement, move it into the honey storage area.Then harvest it later.

Harvest Honey

Need to harvest some honey? Check out my Harvest page.


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2 responses to “Summer”

  1. Deb says:

    If I put a starter strip on the top bars at the rear of the hive, will the bees put in straight comb so I can easily harvest the honey? I plan on using the triangle piece dipped in bees wax for a guide. I want to be able to harvest the honey in the last 2-4 combs. Currently, the brood is in crooked…I just put a bead of bees wax in a keefer on the top bar. They didn’t follow that..

    • -bW says:

      Hi Deb

      Bees will be bees! I haven’t found any top bar guide method that works all the time. And using starter strips isn’t any different.

      Sorry -bW

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