As the sun rises, a distinct hum filters through the morning air. The harmonizing sound is of hard work, of nature in action. It is the sound of bees. These remarkable, vital creatures assist in growing our food supply, pollinating various food items we consume daily. Their dynamic nature and complex societies have fascinated humans for centuries, leading to the age-old practice of beekeeping. This activity requires commitment, knowledge, and a deep respect for these tiny creatures and their role in our world. Every beekeeper needs an essential beekeeping calendar for year-round care, whether a curious, budding novice or a seasoned veteran. Beekeeping is a joyful activity that needs constant attention.
Autumn Care (September to November)
As the vibrant colors of fall take hold, your beekeeping responsibilities shift again, this time towards harvesting honey, preparing bees for winter, and controlling pests. Autumn is the season of bounty and a chance to enjoy the sweet rewards of your labor.
The First Order of Autumn Care Beekeeping Business
The first sequence of the season is to harvest the remaining honey. It’s a delicate process that you must handle with care. A honey extractor can simplify the process and ensure minimal disturbance to your buzzing inhabitants. However, leave enough honey reserves for your bees to survive the upcoming winter. Start using the honey you’ve already extracted in the late summer if you have it; store it, cook with it, and share with your friends and family the sweet love produced in your apiary.
What Happens in Late Autumn?
Post-honey harvesting involves preparing bees for the bitter cold months. One thing to do to get bees ready is to reduce the hive entrance size to protect the colony from cold drafts and predators. Feeding techniques also go into effect here. Make food supplies with mixtures of sugar, syrup, and fondant. These foods keep them sufficient while living off their honey supply.
Hive Maintenance in Autumn
Hive maintenance and pest control require year-round consistency and patience. Regular inspections can help detect any infestations or diseases that may harm your bees during the winter. Tools like a hive tool or a bee brush can be useful for hive maintenance tasks.
Year-Round Beekeeping Success Starts at The B Farm
Beekeeping is a year-long commitment filled with knowledge, dedication, and respect for these remarkable creatures. Each season presents unique challenges and joys, from spring’s vibrant buzz to autumn’s delightful rewards.
Winter Care (December to February)
Winter can be a challenging season for your bees, but your hive can thrive even in the cold months with the right preparation and care. Preparing your apiaries beforehand helps protect the inhabitants when the first frost hits. Part of your care plan involves checking that the bees have enough honey to survive the season, insulating the hive, and regularly checking for signs of disease or parasites.
Feeding Time in Winter
Winter is the most crucial time to feed your bees. At this point, you’ll use traditional feeding techniques, including introducing sugar syrup or fondant to the hive. However, extreme cold can make it difficult for the bees to access the syrup. In this case, a winter patty (a mixture of sugar and essential oils) will suffice.
Why Monitoring Beehives Is Crucial in Winter
Concerning yourself with monitoring your bees’ health is also crucial because the winter stresses them out, lowering their immune systems so they’re easily vulnerable to diseases and parasites. Regular check-ups can help detect potential issues early and keep your hive healthy and buzzing. While winter is hibernation season for our furry friends, it isn’t for the beekeeper. Winter is coming, so prepare for additional care for the warmer months ahead.
Spring Care (March to May)
Spring means new life, beginnings, and responsibilities for beekeepers. The arrival of spring, from March to May, means beekeepers shift their focus towards hive inspection, boosting brood production, and preventing swarming. Spring is the season when bees are most active because of the warm weather and blooming flowers. The period between March and May is also a time for the beekeeper to start being active.
The Beekeepers’ First Steps into Spring Care
A thorough hive inspection is the first order of business in spring. Remove and examine each frame; look for signs of disease or parasites. Also, keep a watchful eye on brood patterns and the queen’s presence. Cleaning the hive is also essential. Remove the dead bees and ensure the area is ready for the active season.
What To Know About Brood Production
Brood production increases in the spring as the queen begins laying more eggs. Providing supplementary feeding can help stimulate brood production and ensure a substantial population going into the summer. You can introduce feeders with sugar syrup into the hive but remember to remove them once natural nectar sources become plentiful.
Spring is swarm season, meaning overpopulation forces the queen and half the colony to leave for a new home. You can prevent swarms by adding more space and frames or splitting the hive for bee loss prevention.
Summer Care (June to August)
Summer is about beekeepers stepping out of their usual techniques and transitioning to heat prevention in the hives. The hot weather usually creates an unwelcoming lure for bees, which makes it necessary to increase the number of times beekeepers inspect and maintain the hive. Implement strategies for good air circulation, such as using screened bottom boards or adding supers to give your bees more space and improve airflow.
Honey Extraction in Summer
Summer is also the optimal time for honey extractions. Bees typically harvest more honey than they need during the summer, but you can harvest the excess. Leaving enough for the bees to sustain themselves is crucial. A best practice in beekeeping in the summer is extracting honey in the late summer months, such as mid-to-end of August. You can estimate how much to take and leave for the bees without jeopardizing their survival during winter by waiting until the end of summer to harvest.
Disease and Pest Risks are Prevalent in the Summer
Disease and pest risks increase during the summer, requiring additional hive inspections. While these inspections may throw off your relaxing summer plans, doing extra routine work helps detect anomalies early enough to where immediate prevention keeps serious issues at bay. Watch for signs of common diseases like American Foulbrood or pests like Varroa mites. You must take swift action, treating the hive to prevent further spread.
Embracing the beekeeping calendar is vital for nurturing a thriving hive, whether you’re a seasoned beekeeper or a beginner. Check out The B Farm’s blog for more information and explore our 5 frame nucs for sale. Join our buzzing community and embark on an unforgettable beekeeping journey with us at The B Farm!