Bee Keepers Calendar

Jobs for the Month and Dates for your Diary.


January.

Jobs:

  • Check the hive is intact and its protection against predators is secure, especially after high winds.
  • Check the hive entrance is kept clear of snow.
  • Check the level of food stores by hefting the hive, lifting the back and side of the hive just off the stand in turn, to gauge the weight.
  • Take the opportunity to study and attend a course about bees and beekeeping, where possible.

 


February.

Jobs:

  • Check the stores by hefting the hive and provide emergency feeding if necessary.
  • Check that hives are undisturbed and mouse and woodpecker protection is still intact
  • Clear hive entrances of debris, snow and dead bees.
  • Collect and prepare equipment needed for the coming season.

 


March.

Jobs:

  • Check food reserves and feed sugar syrup if necessary
  • Carry out a quick inspection if the weather is suitable
  • Monitor natural varroa mite drop and plan treatment if necessary
  • Prepare clean brood frames and foundation for replacement
  • Prepare supers and queen excluders
  • Prepare a spare hive with frames and foundation for swarm control

 


April.

Jobs:

  • Start regular weekly inspections
  • Add a queen excluder and a super when the brood box is full of bees
  • Replace old combs with foundation or sterilised combs
  • Practice your chosen swarm control method before you find occupied queen cells, so that you are prepared
  • Mark the queen and clip her wings if you wish

 


May.

Jobs:

  • Continue checks for occupied queen cells and take swarm control measures if necessary
  • Add supers ahead of the bees’ requirements
  • Remove ‘ripe’ oilseed rape honey and extract it
  • Arrange to receive a nucleus if this is how you want to start
  • Book the loan of a honey extractor from your association.

June.

Jobs:

  • Remove the spring honey and extract it straight away
  • Ensure your colonies are not short of food when you take off the honey
  • Feed if necessary but avoid sugar syrup being stored in supers
  • Continue weekly inspections and undertake swarm control if required
  • Continue collecting swarms
  • Monitor for varroa, plan your treatment regime and byuy treatments as needed.

July.

Jobs:

  • Continue to add supers ahead of the bees’ requirements
  • Reduce entrances to avoid robbing by bees and wasps
  • Remove surplus honey when ready for extraction
  • Assemble equipment required to extract and bottle honey
  • Reserve the extractor if you are borrowing it from your local association

August.

Jobs:

  • Finish taking off the honey harvest
  • Check the bees have sufficient stores
  • Carry out a through disease inspection
  • Treat for varroa as necessary
  • Unite small colonies
  • Store clean, dry supers and protect from wax moth

 


September.

Jobs:

  • Check each comb to assess honey stores in the hive
  • Learn to estimate stores by hefting the hive
  • Top up stores to a minimum of 18kg by feeding heavy syrup
  • Heft the hive to check the feed has been stored
  • Remove, clean and store the queen excluder
  • Remove empty Apiguard trays or other varroa treatment

 


October.

Jobs:

  • Continue feeding if necessary if the colony has not started to form its winter cluster
  • Remove the entrance block and fit a mouseguard
  • Fit wire netting or plastic strips around the hive to deter woodpeckers
  • Clean, sterilise, repair and store spare equipment

 


November.

Jobs:

  • Monitor natural varroa mite drop and plan further treatment if needed.
  • Check that the hive protection against predators is intact after windy weather
  • Check the hive entrance is not blocked by snow or debris
  • Complete cleaning, sterilising, repairing and storing equipment

December.

Jobs:

  • Check the hive protection against predators is intact
  • Check that the hive entrance is kept clear of snow and debris
  • Control varroa with an approved oxalic acid treatment during a broodless period
  • Review your beekeeping during the year and plan for 2017
  • Plan to improve your skills and learn more advanced beekeeping