August Bee-Haviors

What are our bees doing in August? Buzz Savories’ bees are methodically gathering nectar and storing this precious fluid in the beeswax cells they made for this purpose. 

This productive behavior is stimulated by the “honey flow” meaning forage plants are in bloom and our weather has been pleasant for bee activity.

Except for some rainy days, Buzz Savories bees are diligently collecting nectar and pollen.  Both are stored in the hive. The bees make and store honey in the supers (smaller boxes that the beekeeper places on top of the large boxes called deeps. The honey is stored for use in the cold months, and the pollen is stored in the deeps among the brood cells. Pollen serves as a source of protein for the bees.    

What flowers do bees prefer?  Every beekeeper I know says, “Clover.”  Bees will pass over alfalfa and other flowers to get to a field of clover.

Fields of clover are few and far between these years. The clover has been rooted out and replaced with alfalfa. Bees make do with alfalfa. They also find wild mint, blazing star, sage, coneflower, hyssop, vetch, sunflowers, soy beans, bee balm, milkweeds, and flowering fruit trees.

When these plants and more are accessible, the honey flow may last for many weeks, and the beekeeper feels happy to see a thin film of white wax topping the cells of nectar. This indicates the nectar has turned into honey and is the proper consistency for long term storage in the hive. Beekeepers leave 50 lbs. for the bees to live on through the winter. The excess is lifted off the hive in late August and extracted for the honey that the beekeeper packages and markets and eats.

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