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Image by Lukas Blazek

Beekeeping Calendar - What To Do by Month

  • Check regularly for wind and storm damage – make sure floors and boxes are stacked correctly and no water can get in

  • Ensure entrance does not become blocked by snow. Heft corner to assess stores remaining

  • Heft corner to guage stores remaining. Use fondant or bags of sugar. If bees are lethargic, spray with warm thick sugar solution (2:1), do NOT use thin syrup (1:1)

  • Take mouse-guards off during the day if bees are active

  • Begin ordering or building new hive equipment – boxes, frames, feeders

  • Seal any colonies that have died and arrange to send samples for diagnosis

  • Check food reserves and begin feeding syrup. Prepare replacement brood frames

  • When warm enough, carry out first full hive inspection; check for disease, varroa infestation, stores and queen rightness. Mark un-marked queens with the appropriate colour

  • Replace old comb, aim for 1/3 each year

  • Feed stimulating liquid feed

  • Start of swarming season – perform weekly inspections looking for polished queen cups and new wax on existing queen cups.

  • Ensure a spare hive is ready in preparation for artificial swarming or to collect swarms. Oil Seed Rape and early spring flow starts – add supers if there are 7-8 frames of bees.

  • Remove spring honey and feed bees through the June Gap (spring flowers have finished, summer flowers are yet to bloom).

  • Check weekly for signs of swarming and add additional space for expanding brood.

  • Monitor varroa mite levels.

  • Continue weekly inspections

  • Depending on weather, feed or add supers

  • Be vigilant for a developing wasp problem

  • Plan autumn migration to the heather 

  • Move hives to heather areas if weather permits

  • Harvest, extract and process honey.

  • Inspect for disease and treat after supers are off

  • Feed with thick syrup (2:1) 650ml water to 1kg sugar, if needed

  • Put reducer on to prevent robbing and put out wasp traps

  • Feed with thick syrup (2:1) 650ml water to 1kg sugar, if needed

  • Remove queen excluders

  • Put in varroa strips or other treatments

  • Unite weak, disease free colonies

  • Prepare for the Honey Show

  • Continue to feed until cluster is formed

  • Fit mouse-guards (after drones have been expelled) and weight down roofs with blocks and straps as needed

  • Clean, repair and sterilize surplus equipment

  • Leave bees alone

  • Be vigilant for storm damage

  • Make sure straps and blocks are secure

  • Build hives and frames for next season

  • Leave bees alone and be vigilant for storm damage

  • Treat with Oxalic Acid when brood-less

  • Put on fondant at the end of December

  • Ensure entrance is clear of snow

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