This is a critical time of year in bee keeping. There are things that need to be done NOW not in a few weeks for your hive to succeed in making it through the winter.
We are just about at the Fall equinox (Sept 22 this year) The days are getting shorter and the hives are starting to raise their winter Fat bees (that can live up to 180 days) that will take a hive through the coming Winter months. The reason it's so important to get your mite load under control at this time of year, is this is also the time of year that the mites exponential growth is hitting it's stride. So make sure and use a good effective mite treatment that meets your mite load control goals. Mites have been strong this year. Test before so you know what you're up against. Personally I treat every hive and do mite testing after to make sure I got good results.
You should've harvested your honey by now and reduced your hive down to the equivalent of 2 deep hive boxes. The hive will continue to shrink in size during the next few weeks replacing the Summer bees with the Winter fat bees. Your hive should be heavy with honey still in the 2nd box (Total hive should be close to 100lbs). If it is a little light you should feed them a gallon every 3 days until they are up to weight if you have a gallon inline feeder. Top feeders usually take 2 gallons to fill up. They will pack away this 2:1 heavy syrup very quickly as we experience a nectar dearth this time of year. You need to get it in the hive as early as possible to give them time to cure it (reduce the water content) and cap it for winter. They will need help putting on the weight in honey at this time here in Utah (We don't have any fall nectar flows to speak of since we are in a desert).
Action items this Month:
Harvest any honey the first of the month. Make sure they have enough for their winter survival; don't take too much.
Check mite load and treat your hive for Varroa mites. Check again for efficacy
.Feed the hive 2:1 sugar to water syrup as quickly as they will take it, (a gallon or more every 3 days) to help the hive get up to weight if the hive is light. You want a 100 lb hive going into October.
Feed Pollen substitute patties so your bees have all the resources, to raise health and lots of Winter Fat bees.
Evaluate your hives for strength and queen rightness.
Make sure an entrance reducer is in place to control robbing bees and wasps. It gives the hive an entrance that is easily defended during this dearth of nectar and pollen. I put them on the Bigger opening if a strong hive, and the smaller one if a small hive.
Happy Beekeeping everyone!