We’ve talked before about joining your local beekeeping association.  You can learn quite a bit from these folks, be it bits and pieces of information you haven’t heard elsewhere to things that may be specific to your particular area.

To that end here’s what we learned from the last meeting at our local beekeeping association, Puget Sound Beekeepers.  This calendar is based on the weather here in the Pacific Northwest however the ideas will be the same no matter where you live.  The honey season is likely longer for those of you in warmer climates and of course for those in the southern hemisphere the calendar is backwards however adjust accordingly and you’ll get a feel for what happens in your hive.

First we talked about what is needed regarding the location of your apiary.  Your apiary should have protection from wind, an established water source, easy access for you and a solid footing so it won’t fall oven when it gets heavy with honey supers.  All of these are important for the health of your bees!

First 7 months calendar:

Feb and March

Feed the hives you have established pollen patties (if you decide to) if the colony is big enough to support raising brood.  If the colony is small you don’t want to tax their limited resources with raising brood.  Plus if their numbers are small they won’t be able to keep the brood warm enough for the brood to hatch successfully.

March April

Time to replace the queen?  When you can look for laying patterns and determine if it’s time to requeen.  Many beekeepers do this every year.  Of course make sure you order your new queen before you pinch the old one!

Clean up the hive, scraping off any burr comb (extra buildup of wax that the bees have made)

Introduce any new foundation for the bees to pull out.  If it was time to ditch frames this is the time to do it.

Combine weak hives.  If you have a tiny hive that likely isn’t going to make it this is the time to combine them with a stronger hive.  You can also combine weak hives together.  Either way if the hive is very weak at this time of the year they likely won’t make it so put them with another hive to keep them from dying completely.

May

FEED!  Make sure you’re feeding your bees sugar water.  If they aren’t taking it then they don’t need it but let them make that decision.

Any old frames that need to be trashed should go now.  Don’t wait until later in the year or you’ll risk losing lots of brood with replacement and also might lose brood do to frames breaking or falling apart.

June July August

It’s surplus honey time.  Put on your queen excluder and honey supers.  Two at a time works well and will keep you from needing to check if things really go crazy.

You’re likely not feeding sugar water now so take that off.

August is the time to assess the need for any treatment for mites, etc.  How is your hive’s health?  Are you going to treat or will you let nature run it’s course?  What will you treat with?  This is the time to make sure you’ve figured this out and get ready to follow through with your plan.  Remember, for most treatments you’ll want the honey supers off the hive before you treat.

Populations will start to decline in August so don’t worry about this.  They are getting ready for winter.

We’ll be posting more about the beekeeping meeting and the wonderful speaker who talked about catching swarms later this week so keep your eyes open for that.  In the meantime share with us below what you learned at your last beekeeping meeting!

2 Responses to “Notes From The Beekeeping Meeting”

  1. martha young/waxfever

    wish I could have had the few important answers a few days ago, that I have now. If you had been here while they swarmed my kitchen you would agree they were asking for assistance I did not know how to give. Breaks my heart just as much now, for they may never ask again.
    may be they will accept an offer when I become more knowledgable of their needs. I truely believe in the old saying…” If you build it, they will come.”I left my only entrance door open a few nights for their convenience. no they were not aggressive. but it did seem they were asking for assistance.
    I am new to the internet and illiterate about it and the computor.

    Reply
  2. martha young/waxfever

    protect from wind.establish fresh water source.solid footing for tbh or other bee houseing.feb/march feed pollen patties.combine small swarms.sugar water. march/april replace queen if necessary.clean hives.new foundations.combine weak hives.sugar water.may trash old frames sugar water.june july aug.honey surplus harvest.queen excluder/honey spurs/two at a time.no sugar water. check hive health. assess needs for treatment.do not contaminate honey supers with treatments.poulations decline in preparation for winter.these are my notes.

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