Here is what to expect in and around the hive in June.
In the hive
June and July are the months of maximum population in the colony. Depending on your area and management style, the population will vary. Most estimates are in the range of
40-60,000 bees but some go up to seven digits. The colony, if big enough, continues to rear drones. Swarm season also continues in June. The Varroa mite population continues to build and management of mites is of extreme importance.
- Colony inspections should take place at least once a month and include evaluating the brood pattern, confirming the presence of the queen and/or eggs, evaluating colony growth and available room, monitoring for pests and diseases, and other metrics.
- If you cannot inspect every one of your colonies, inspect the colonies that are not showing as much activity on the outside.
- If you install a package or nuc, allow two weeks for the colony to establish before you inspect it.
- Feed package bees or nucs upon their arrival.
- Provide supers if the brood chambers are full and the population/stores growing.
Pests, parasites, and diseases
- Monitor Varroa mite levels. At this point in the year, if you find two or more mites (per 100 bees) from a sugar shake, ether roll, or alcohol wash, you will want to treat. Treatment methods will depend on your management goals, the condition of the colony, and external conditions.
- Drone comb can be an effective cultural method at this time of year.
- This may be a good time to break the brood cycle (and therefore the Varroa reproduction cycle) by caging the queen or performing splits.
- Swarm control: see the guidelines for May.
- This is the best time (swarm season) to rear queens.
- Foundation will be more likely to be drawn out during a honey flow.
- Consider adding a queen excluder to manage the honey supers more easily.
- Set up bait hives if you want to catch a swarm!
Hive products and services
- Depending on the strength/size of your colonies and your management goals, you may consider extracting the spring honey. Extract immediately after removing the supers to prevent a small hive beetle infestation.
- You may be able to trap pollen.
- Mow the yard as necessary.