Jobs for the Month and Dates for your Diary.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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