November for Florida beekeepers comes with a nice break from the heat, swarming impulses are done for the year as our bees will begin to thin their colonies of drones and brood to prepare for cooler weather.
North Florida beekeepers, you are going to want to keep an eye on your hives for varroa mite and small hive beetle infestation, and don’t forget to feed your bees if they are light. If you choose to use pollen patties to feed protein to your bees be sure to add only what can be eaten within just a couple of days. Adding an entire patty like you see northern beekeepers do on the Internet will likely result in loads of hatching small hive beetle larva as the small hive beetles thrive on the patties in our climate.
Central and South Florida beekeepers, you may have already started extracting the Brazillian Pepper / Golden Rain Tree honey. If not, you should have this honey pulled before Thanksgiving. You are going to want to check your mite infestation ratio after the harvest, and treat your bees accordingly, Apiguard is a great product to use when treating mites in this cooler weather. You are also going to want to feed your bees; wet supers from your extraction will help, though syrup is always a good option as well. Pollen patties should not be needed yet, your colonies are likely still quite heavy with pollen having just come out of the honey flow.
All areas of Florida should be looking to resolve any queenless colonies with either a purchased mated queen or by combining a queenless hive with a queen right hive. This time of year is not the right time to let the bees try to sort it out themselves as there will likely not be enough available drones to mate a new queen, and even if so, new worker brood would not be hatching from that new queen for quite a long time, placing you squarely into the winter months with a weakened colony and little to no brood in your established colonies to help that weak colony out.
What’s in bloom?
North and Central Florida:
Bush Aster, Goldenrod, Mexican Clover, Primrose Willow, Smartweed, Spanish Needle, Spotted Mint, Vine Aster
Melaleuca, Mexican Clover, Primrose Willow, Smartweed, Spanish Needle