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 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 top bar hive for the hot weather. And it’s absolutely essential to know how and when to work a top bar hive when it’s hot.

Have you read Heat? It’s a must read before working or managing a top bar hive 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 top bar hive for honey production.

Honey Production

Managing a top bar hive 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 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 top bar hive 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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