Beekeeping Calendar: Beehive Management Schedule For 12 months
Beekeeping Calendar: The beehive management schedule is not the same for all the seasons of the year. It may differ from month to month based on the nature, environment, and availability of flowers near the bee colonies. So beekeepers should know very well about the preparation necessary each month.
A list of necessary items is mentioned below for each month from January to December. Beekeepers should follow this while they want to maintain their beehives efficiently.
(01) Beekeeping suit, (02) Smoker/hive tools, (03) Hive feeders, (04) Entrance reducers, (05) Books, (06) Package bees and queens.
o1. Reduce the hive entrance and check for blockage buildup from dead bees, debris, snow.
02. Ensure the roof is secured from Windy winter and spring weather.
03. Provide Emergency feeding if necessary.
04. Record your observations for each & every hive instead of relying on memory.
05. Take the time off to read a good book on bees and attend local bee club meetings.
06. Consign your packaged bees order for this year, if you haven’t yet done so.
(01) Beekeeping suit, (02) Smoker/hive tools, (03) Medication.
01. Medicate at least 60 days prior to adding supers.
02. As the cluster grows, shift frames with eggs to the center and move frames of sealed brood to the outer position.
03. Add brood chambers with a drawn comb to the strongest hives.
04. Reverse double brood chambers to shift the empty frames to the top and center. This will inspire the growth of the hive.
(01) Beekeeping suit, (02) Smoker/Hive tools, (03) Hive feeders, (04) Supplements & feed.
01. While there is a lack of sufficient nectar and pollen sources in your area, you need to consider pollen supplements and sugar syrup.
02. Continue the frame rotation started in February and begin to exchange the frames according to brood age.
(01) Beekeeping Suit, (02) Smoker/hive tools, (03) Swarm traps, (04) Supers.
01. When the weather is warming up, pull out the entrance reducers.
02. To prevent swarming add supers, expand the frames with brood, cut queen cells, frontier barriers to bee movement upward into the supers.
03. Consider placing Mite traps in the Apiary to catch any mites.
04. Replace the queen bee while finding old age, temperament, or bad brood patterns.
You can buy online a famous branded Queen Catcher: Mann Lake Stainless Steel – Queen Catcher.
(01) Bee suit, (02) Smoker, (03) Hive, (04) Tools, (05) Queen Excluder, (06) Supers / Frames / Foundation, (07) Hive Beetle Traps.
01. Add a Queen Excluder, and place honey supers.
02. Give the bees sufficient space to bring in the pollen and nectar. Toward the end of the nectar flow, you’ll need to host the bees to finish out partially filled supers.
03. Check for hive status and install traps if necessary.
Find here to buy a famous branded Queen Excluder: Bee Queen Excluder by Little Giant Farm & Ag QEPL. This excluder is used between brood and super to prevent the queen from entering into super.
(01) Bee suit, (02) Bee escapes, (03) smoker / hive tools, (04) Supers / Frames / Foundation.
01. Begin to take out frames of capped honey and replace them with empty frames/foundations.
02. Be sure to place bee escapes before removing entire supers.
(01) Extracting equipment, (02) Containers, (03) Labels.
01. The nectar flow will continue this month.
02. You may even find your bees festooning (bees hanging on to one another, leg to leg, like a bridge) between the frames.
Although it’s very common, there is no known reason why. But we can guess that they are making unity to face some possible hard times in the near future.
03. Add more supers as needed.
(01) Apistan, (02) CheckMite wax moth treatment.
01. The hive begins to slow down as the nectar flow decreases.
(01) Apistan, (02) CheckMite wax moth treatment.
01. Beehive population drops and the drones begin to die off.
02. Harvest the remaining of your honey crop. Don’t forget to leave the hive with at least 60 pounds of nectar for use over the winter.
03. At the end of the month, start feeding and medicate.
04. Install Apistan strips or CheckMite to prevent mites (for 42 days)
You can buy here Varroa mite traps: Varroa mites quick stripe – two strips as a full dose.
(01) Store your equipment.
01. Observe the bees are preparing for winter. 02. Include any necessary insulation or windbreaks. 03. Remove the Apistan or CheckMite strips you installed before.
(01) Beeswax, (02) Books.
01. The bees are clustering together on colder days to stay warm. 02. Begin thinking of all the terrific honey-related gifts you could prepare for Christmas gifts: Bottle your honey in decorative containers, make candles with your beeswax
(01) Books, (02) Gifts.
01. Begin your search for package bees to sell. So that they sell out quickly! 02. Enjoy the holidays!
How The Beehive Property Management In Different Seasons including Top Bar Hive Management.
Beehive Property Management: When the bee colonies are in a flower garden or field Beehive Management is easy and inexpensive. But there are some seasons of flower crisis when you have to expend some extra money and efforts to maintain your bees because you have to provide honey and pollen supplements or alternatives.
The honey alternative is a mixture of one part sugar with one part water. Pollen supplement is a mixture of crushed sugar and pigeon pea. It’s used for medications and to prevent bee diseases. You can make it by yourself or buy it from any reputed bee nutrition supplier.
The maximum period of the year is the offseason and the harvesting period is a few months only in most of the countries. But if you are in any region where flowers are available abundantly, the harvesting period can be more. Specifically, if you are in or near any forest area you can harvest honey more or less all year-round.
So, honeybee property management becomes easier and cheap for you. However, to properly maintain the bees you have to take care of the following things:
#1. Hive Installation
Install the hive in a flower garden or field at least 15 days before the flower blooming. Because they will take some time to an acquaintance with the flower garden or field.
#2. Use of Tool
Take all the tools and materials required to maintain the bees, such as Knife, smoker, tobacco leaves, net helmet or dress, frame puller, honey extractor, honey sieve, bucket, drum, etc. No need to install any feeder as you need not feed them separately like offseason.
#3. Re-arrange frames
Re-arrange the frames of bees as per the hive condition and population of bees. All the hives you keep in one or more rows depending on the flower location. Try to keep the bees most near to the flowers. Because, if the distance of flowers is more they will take more time to reach the hive every time.
That means if you keep a distance of double, ultimately you will get half of the expected honey. Thus distance of the hive will seriously affect the quantity of honey collection.
#4. Check Beehives regularly
Every day check the hive and note in the register which hives are extracted mentioning the date and time. Don’t keep the honey in the hive when it is ripped enough. Because the hive is full of honey, they will reduce their work and tend to stop collecting honey.
So, if you extract honey they will find the lake of honey in the hive and work more to full fill the hive and ultimately you will get more honey.
#5. Matured harvesting
Don’t harvest or extract the honey until you become mature. If you do so, the quality of the honey will be inferior and more moisture will be there. Usually, in our country, ideal beekeepers extract their honey at 10/12 days intervals. But some of the beekeepers only take 3/4 days for harvesting and definitely they get more honey of inferior quality.
#6. Avoid walking ways
Always keep the hives in the rear side of the walking way, never disturb them to their passage of flying and it is risky also as they can sting you.
#7. Wear Bee Suit & helmet
Always wear a net dress or helmet before going to the hive and use a smoker with tobacco to make them cool, otherwise, they may sting you. You are suggested to buy all in one to save money. Because if you buy each component separately then the total cost will be more than all in one.
#8. Aged beehives
Getting more honey-aged hives is better than the brand new. Because of a new hive of adequate young worker bees, unable to collect more honey. You should keep more attention to your weak hive with respect to the bee population.
#9. Don’t be greedy
Don’t be greedy more to extract from any pupa frame/comb for honey as they will get damaged and you will lose your worker bees. Nicely clean and remove all the bees from the comb before keeping them in the machine for extraction.
#10. Keep a large quantity of honey stock
When flowers are going to be reduced, please don’t extract more and keep a large quantity of honey stock in the hive to save your bees. While flowers are reduced more, put a feeder pot in every hive to get ready to feed them artificially.
Beehive Property Management While flower crisis in nature
If the flower crisis is most of the time where you keep your bees, it will be more expensive for you and it’s not an ideal place for bee farming.
Remember, honey bee management in the period of flower crisis is just to prepare them for harvesting season and due to the lack of natural food, obviously, the growth of bees will be reduced significantly.
Usually, the honey harvesting season is while sufficient flowers in nature. It could be from the early stage to the middle stage of some crops like cornflower, apple, mustard oil, litchi, etc. Keep in mind, all crop is not suitable to harvest honey. Some crop is just to feed the bees only, not have enough honey to harvest. Paddy, mango is like this crop.
Beehive Property Management
Different types of flowers are available in the forest in all seasons. So, you can harvest honey all year round. Mustard oil, cornflower, litchi are the best flowers for harvesting honey. But only in a specific season.
The time period of harvesting may vary based on the flowers available near to your beehives and you’re living in which region. But if you live near to some forest area or you can shift your bees to the forest, you’ll get some honey in all seasons as in the forest some flowers are available in all seasons.
The taste and flavor of forest honey are mixed type as the different types of flowers bloom at the same time. If you like to get the taste and flavor of a specific type, you have to produce honey from a seasonal crop like litchi, cornflower, mustard oil, etc.
But if you can keep your bees in the forest with the same types of flowers or trees, you can get a specific type of honey with a single taste and flavor. From my experience, I found that many bees are unable to come back to hives. So, you will lose many bees in the forest.
The bee farm must be managed properly so as to produce surplus honey that can be harvested. Usually, bee farmers medicate their bees from January to February when the queen resumes laying eggs. After making sure the hive is enough populated with bees and is producing sufficient honey, the bee farmers try to re-queen the colony around early spring or in the fall.
The bee farmers kill and discard the old queen every year as the queen becomes old and capable of laying eggs go down.
To safely maintain a bee colony beekeepers should have proper tools to handle the boxes and bees. Tools are a scraper, smoker, frame (comb) puller, net helmet or dress, honey harvesting machine, net trap.
Always open the cover from the back, use smoke before opening the hive, the front side of the colony should be free from any disturbance. Never open the box at hot or while the sun is on top of the head. Always try to safely handle the bees to avoid stings.
Top Bar Hive Management
Usually, Top Bar Hive or Super is used in harvesting season. The main objective is to keep separate honeycombs from the brood and restrict Queen bees not to coming into this chamber. If the queen comes here and lays eggs, the frames or bar will be populated with eggs, larvae, pupa which is not possible to remove from the frame for harvesting honey.
So these will get damaged. A separator/ net trap is used between brood and super/top bar hive to restrict queen bees.
Super box/Top bar hive
Remember, for a 10 frame brood box, you need a similar size to the super box that is a 10 frames super box. Super or Top Bar Hive is installed above the Brood or on the top of the Brood. That is why it’s called the Top Bar Hive and usually smaller in height. Now the box is ready to install bees and harvest honey.
The brood box will be populated with sufficient bees and a strong queen. A separator is used to keep the queen separate from the super box. So, that it can’t go super box and lays eggs there.
Tips and Warning
Every bee is your asset and works for you to collect honey and contribute to pollination. So, never kill a bee unnecessarily. Always keep some medicines so that you can apply them while a bee stings you. If you experience any bad symptoms, go to a doctor, and take the necessary action.
Remember, in the absence of close attention you may lead to a large number of bees dying at any time, especially at the time of flower reduction. If you found any critical condition of the hive please consult an expert of the apiary.
Resources of information
National Honey Board,
American Honey Producers Association,
American Bee Journal,
The Pollination Home Page,
Experience of my own beekeeping project.