September 2023 Newsletter

Hive Management

2023 September Management

23 September Management

The honey flow is over, for the most part, in the Twin Cities area. The supers should be taken off this month (if not already done) and any necessary mite treatments completed. Then it is time to get the bee colonies ready for winter.

This is the time it is necessary to prevent robbing. Put the entrance reducer in with the larger opening. Put corks in the lower auger holes. Be careful not to leave any honey out in the bee yard. Be careful not to get honey on the outside of the boxes if you lean a frame against it.

If a colony is getting robbed, close all the entrances, including holes or cracks in the boxes. Put in the entrance reducer on the 3” opening (don’t close this one). Then cover the front of the hive with a wet sheet. Leave it loose on the sides so the home bees can get in and out.

Verify that your colony has a good population of bees for winter. If you have your bees in 2 or 3 deeps, they should cover at least 7 frames when they are in a loose cluster. If the colony does not have enough bees, it is too late to do anything about it. I am often asked about combining colonies that have low populations. I don’t think you should ever combine a weak colony into a good colony. It will be of no help to the strong colony and may be detrimental depending on why the weak one is weak. You probably have nothing to lose if you have two weak colonies and want to combine them for winter.

To combine weak colonies put each of the weak colonies into a single deep. Dequeen all but one of them. Then combine them by stacking them with a sheet of newspaper between them. Poke a few small holes in the newspaper with your hive tool. Put the box with the queen on the top. Wait at least 5 days before checking on them. 

They need at least 10 deep frames of honey to successfully winter. The honey needs to be in the top box. There should not be any foundation in the top box. You may need to move some frames around to make this happen.

If the colony does not have enough honey, they may be able to fill out with a fall flow. Be sure the top box has drawn comb for them to put the honey in. They will not draw out comb this time of the year. If they do not get a fall flow then in October feed 2:1 sugar syrup until they have enough. It takes over a gallon of 2:1 syrup to fill a deep frame.

If you have varroa mites and have not treated yet, do so now. It is best not to feed while treating for mites. Read the label for the product you are using.

The winter cover will go on later.


Reproduction of all or part of this article without the author’s permission is prohibited. 

Better Beekeeping Through Education

Next Meeting
Peggy Desanto
Please join us as Peggy presents about winter covers.  Let's learn all we can as we prepare for winter!

Tuesday, September 12th, 7:00 PM

Hybrid meeting:
In-Person: Borlaug Hall, Room 335
(Masks Recommended)
Via Zoom: Meeting Link

Hive Demo
Tuesday, September 12th, 5:45 PM
In-Person: Research Apiary
(Veils Required)

Click here for directions.

Upcoming Events

Gary Reuter & Adrian Quiney
Join us as we listen to a Great Bee Debate!

What do bees do when their friend moves into a new hive?

They throw them a house swarming party.

Announcing Fall Habitat Hour for Beekeepers - 2023

Join the MHPA and UMN Bee Squad for Habitat Hour, a time to learn about and discuss floral nutrition for bees. Beekeepers and bee supporters are invited to attend one or more informative Zoom webinar sessions. CLICK HERE and register for one, two, or all three sessions.


Candle-making supplies for sale
Lots of beeswax candle molds, wicks, etc. Email for a price list. Most purchased from Mann Lake.
[email protected].

"The Cavity Compromise"
by Adrian Quiney now available on Amazon, in person ($19), or by mail ($24) contact the author at [email protected]

Your Classified Here

Did you know your membership allows you to place classified ads in the MHBA Newsletter?

Click here for details.

Urgent Request

At our September member meeting, our speaker Peggy DeSanto will be giving away insulation sets for winterizing beehives. She is doing this for research purposes. If you would like a set, please send Peggy an email at [email protected]. Please be advised that she will be following up with you next spring via email.


Perfect Picnic

Thank you to everyone who attended our annual picnic at the State Fairgrounds in August. We had a very nice assortment of delicious food and gorgeous weather. It was amazing to see people chipping in and helping with the clean up without being asked. Thank you especially to: Christine Shoemaker for co-chairing the picnic and picking up the ice cream; Alex King for making the space available to us and bringing games, a refractometer, and other items; Gary Reuter for providing the grill, games, and refractometer; Karen Voy for setting up the beverage station and other hospitality items; Betty and Warren Mortensen for serving the ice cream; Terri McDaniel for providing the sound system, the beautiful bouquet of flowers, and leading the extraction training; Susan Bornstein for the tablecloths; Steve Buck for helping with set up; and Stacy Anderson for helping with the extraction training. The only snafu was that the entrance to the fairgrounds, as advertised on the picnic flyer, was closed. Somehow picnic-goers found their way to another entrance. Just like a honeybee!

Kate Winsor
Picnic Co-chair


A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Email a photo to Gary Reuter at [email protected] before noon on the day of the member's meeting so he can project it on the screen during “Ask the Expert.” We will all learn from you what you see in your hive.


Online Resources

Please visit our website!
We continue to make updates and changes to our website. Recently, we reorganized the Education page.
Stay tuned for no-cost Community-based beekeeping classes & events in the new calendar:
If you are offering a class/event, you may submit the details to have it listed on our website:

Join Us On Facebook
Join our members only Facebook group:
This is a place for members to ask questions, share answers, share photos and videos, and socialize online.

MHBA Board Minutes
Please check the website for the latest, approved Board meeting minutes.

More Announcements

Membership Renewal
There are three ways to renew your membership today!

  1. Renew your membership online with a credit card (preferred).
  2. Mail the membership renewal form to our treasurer at the address provided
  3. Renew in person by bringing your completed form and check to the next meeting.

Our Renewal Form can be found at our Become a Member page:

Newsletter Submissions
The MHBA newsletter welcomes articles, photos, recipes, etc. from members. Please send them to the editor:
[email protected]

If an article is a reprint from another source, permission must be gained if required. The due date for newsletter submission is the 25th of the month for the next month's newsletter.

MHBA Board

Position Member
President Alex King
Vice President Kate Winsor
Secretary Sarah Staten
Treasurer Bill Thompson
Past President Susan Bornstein
Technology Committee Quintin Holmberg
Alex King
Gary Reuter
Membership Steve Buck
Newsletter Editor Quintin Holmberg
Stacy Anderson
Bob Hinschberger
Quintin Holmberg
Katie Lee, PhD. (appointed)
Terry McDaniel
Betty Mortensen
Christine Shoemaker
Gary Reuter
Karen Voy

Get Involved

Make 2023 the year to get more involved in your club! To become a Community Outreach volunteer or a Swarm Chaser please complete and submit the appropriate form by visiting:

NOTE: The contents of this Newsletter are the sole property of the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association (MHBA). NO REPUBLICATION OR USE in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, by any other person or entity without the prior express written permission from MHBA’s Board of Directors is permitted. MHBA may be contacted at [email protected]