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Beekeeping is a year-round activity that requires ongoing attention and care. To maintain healthy and productive bee colonies, beekeepers need to be aware of the seasonal changes and adjust their management practices accordingly. Having a beekeeping calendar handy helps with knowing at a quick glance the tasks that should be completed each month.

Working apiarist in a spring season.

Whether you’re a beginner beekeeper or an experienced one, having a monthly guide can be helpful in keeping track of the tasks and activities needed for each season.

In this blog post, we’ll go through what needs to be done each month of the year for beekeeping, covering everything from hive inspections to honey harvesting.

By following this guide, you can ensure that your bees stay healthy and happy, and you can enjoy a bountiful honey harvest at the end of the year.

Your Beekeeping Calendar

Beekeeping tasks can vary depending on the specific climate and region, but here are some general guidelines for what to do each month:

January:

January is usually a quiet month for beekeeping, especially in colder regions where the bees are in a state of winter dormancy. However, there are still some important tasks that beekeepers should consider doing during this time:

  1. Check hive entrances: Make sure that the hive entrance is clear of snow, dead bees, and debris. This will ensure that the bees can easily access the hive when they need to.
  2. Monitor food stores: Check the honey stores in the hive to ensure that the bees have enough food to last through the winter. If necessary, provide supplemental feeding with sugar syrup or candy boards.
  3. Maintain equipment: Take the opportunity to clean and repair any equipment that needs attention, such as frames, supers, and hive tools.
  4. Plan for the upcoming season: Use this time to plan for the upcoming season, including ordering new bees or equipment if needed, and deciding on any changes to your beekeeping practices.
  5. Attend educational events: January is a great time to attend beekeeping conferences or workshops to learn about new techniques, technologies, and best practices.

Overall, beekeepers should use January as a time to prepare for the upcoming beekeeping season and ensure that their hives are in good condition for the rest of the year.

February:

February can be a challenging month for beekeeping, as the weather can be unpredictable and the bees may still be in a state of winter dormancy. However, there are still some tasks that beekeepers should consider doing during this time:

  1. Continue to check food stores: Check the honey stores in the hive to ensure that the bees have enough food to last through the remainder of the winter. Provide supplemental feeding if necessary.
  2. Inspect hive entrances: Check the hive entrance for any signs of activity, such as dead bees or snow. If the entrance is blocked, clear it to allow the bees to come and go freely.
  3. Monitor hive weight: Check the weight of the hive by gently tilting it to see if it feels light or heavy. A heavy hive indicates that the bees have sufficient food stores, while a light hive may require supplemental feeding.
  4. Clean equipment: Take advantage of the downtime to clean and sanitize any equipment, such as frames, supers, and hive tools, to prevent the spread of disease.
  5. Prepare for spring: Start preparing for the upcoming spring season by ordering new bees or equipment, and planning any changes to your beekeeping practices.

Overall, beekeepers should use February to continue monitoring their hives and preparing for the upcoming beekeeping season, while ensuring that their bees have enough food to survive the rest of the winter.

March:

March marks the beginning of spring and a more active time for beekeeping. The bees will start to become more active and require more attention from beekeepers. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in March:

  1. Check for brood: As the weather begins to warm up, the queen will start laying eggs again. Check the hive for signs of brood (eggs, larvae, and capped brood) to ensure that the queen is healthy and active.
  2. Conduct a hive inspection: Conduct a thorough inspection of the hive, checking for signs of disease, pests, and overall hive health. Replace any damaged frames or equipment as necessary.
  3. Reverse hive boxes: If you have multiple hive boxes, consider reversing the boxes to prevent overcrowding and promote more efficient use of hive space.
  4. Check food stores: Check the honey stores in the hive to ensure that the bees have enough food to last until nectar sources become more abundant. Provide supplemental feeding if necessary (Begin feeding hives pollen substitute to stimulate brood production).
  5. Monitor for swarming: With the onset of spring, bees may become more prone to swarming. Monitor the hive for signs of swarm cells and take appropriate measures to prevent swarming.

Overall, March is an important time for beekeepers to assess the health of their hives, prepare for the upcoming beekeeping season, and ensure that their bees have enough food to thrive.

April:

April is an active month for beekeeping as the weather becomes warmer, and flowers and trees begin to bloom. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in April:

  1. Continue hive inspections: Conduct regular hive inspections to monitor for signs of disease, pests, and overall hive health. Look for any issues with the queen, brood, and hive population.
  2. Add supers: As the bees become more active and nectar sources become more abundant, consider adding supers to the hive to provide more space for the bees to store honey.
  3. Manage pests: With the warmer weather, be on the lookout for pests such as Varroa mites and take appropriate measures to manage their population.
  4. Monitor hive weight: Monitor the weight of the hive to ensure that the bees have enough food stores. Consider providing supplemental feeding if necessary.
  5. Plan for swarm prevention: As the hive population increases, bees may become more prone to swarming. Plan for swarm prevention by splitting hives or adding queen excluders.

Overall, April is a critical month for beekeeping as the bees become more active and the season for honey production begins. Beekeepers should focus on hive inspections, pest management, and swarm prevention to ensure that their bees remain healthy and productive throughout the season.

May:

May is a busy month for beekeeping, as the weather warms up and nectar sources become more abundant. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in May:

  1. Add supers: With the increase in nectar sources, add supers to the hive to provide more space for the bees to store honey.
  2. Monitor hive health: Continue to monitor hive health and population growth. Check for signs of disease, pests, and overall hive health.
  3. Manage swarming: With the hive population increasing, bees may become more prone to swarming. Monitor the hive for signs of swarm cells and take appropriate measures to prevent swarming.
  4. Extract honey: Depending on the weather and nectar flow, May may be a good time to start extracting honey from the supers.
  5. Plan for summer: As the season progresses, plan for the upcoming summer months. Consider managing hive space, managing pests and diseases, and preparing for the potential of drought conditions.

Overall, May is an important time for beekeepers to focus on hive management and honey production. Beekeepers should continue to monitor hive health, manage swarming, and extract honey as necessary while preparing for the upcoming summer season.

June:

June is a busy month for beekeeping as the honey production season continues and the weather becomes hotter. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in June:

  1. Monitor hive health: Continue to monitor hive health and population growth. Check for signs of disease, pests, and overall hive health.
  2. Add supers: If the honey flow is strong, continue to add supers to the hive to provide more space for the bees to store honey.
  3. Manage pests: With the warmer weather, be on the lookout for pests such as Varroa mites and take appropriate measures to manage their population.
  4. Water management: As the weather becomes hotter, bees require more water to keep the hive cool. Consider providing a nearby water source for the bees.
  5. Harvest honey: Depending on the honey flow, June may be a good time to harvest honey from the supers.
  6. Queen management: Consider conducting a queen inspection and replacing the queen if necessary.

Overall, June is a critical month for beekeepers to focus on hive management, pest management, and honey production. Beekeepers should continue to monitor hive health, manage pests, and harvest honey while ensuring that the bees have access to sufficient water.

July:

July is a hot and dry month, and the honey production season may start to slow down. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in July:

  1. Monitor hive health: Continue to monitor hive health and population growth. Check for signs of disease, pests, and overall hive health.
  2. Water management: Bees require more water to keep the hive cool during the hot weather, and natural sources of water may start to dry up. Ensure that the bees have access to a nearby water source.
  3. Manage pests: Continue to manage pests such as Varroa mites and consider using natural pest management methods.
  4. Harvest Honey
  5. Provide supplemental feeding: If the honey flow has slowed down, consider providing the bees with supplemental feeding to ensure that they have enough food stores for the upcoming winter.
  6. Prepare for winter: July is a good time to start preparing for the upcoming winter months. Ensure that the hive has sufficient food stores and consider insulating the hive if necessary.
  7. Reduce hive space: As the honey flow slows down, consider reducing hive space and entrances to help the bees maintain the hive’s temperature and reduce the likelihood of pests and diseases.

Overall, July is a critical month for beekeepers to focus on hive management, pest management, and preparing for the upcoming winter. Beekeepers should continue to monitor hive health, manage pests, and ensure that the bees have access to water and sufficient food stores.

August:

August is typically a hot and dry month, and the honey production season may be coming to an end. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in August:

  1. Monitor hive health: Continue to monitor hive health and population growth. Check for signs of disease, pests, and overall hive health.
  2. Harvest honey: If you have not already done so, August is a good time to harvest any remaining honey from the supers.
  3. Manage pests: Continue to manage pests such as Varroa mites and consider using natural pest management methods.
  4. Provide supplemental feeding: If the bees do not have sufficient food stores for the upcoming winter, consider providing them with supplemental feeding. Begin feeding hives sugar water and pollen substitute to build up food stores
  5. Prepare hives for fall by reducing entrances and adding insulation if necessary
  6. Prepare for winter: August is an important time to prepare the hive for the upcoming winter. Ensure that the hive has sufficient food stores and consider insulating the hive if necessary.
  7. Combine weak colonies: If you have any weak colonies that are unlikely to survive the winter, consider combining them with stronger colonies.

Overall, August is a critical month for beekeepers to focus on preparing the hive for the upcoming winter. Beekeepers should continue to monitor hive health, manage pests, and ensure that the bees have sufficient food stores for the winter months. Consider harvesting any remaining honey from the supers and combining weak colonies with stronger colonies.

September:

September marks the start of fall, and beekeepers need to prepare the hives for the upcoming winter months. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in September:

  1. Monitor hive health: Continue to monitor hive health and population growth. Check for signs of disease, pests, and overall hive health including queen health and brood production.
  2. Reduce hive space: As the honey production season ends, consider reducing hive space to help the bees maintain the hive’s temperature and reduce the likelihood of pests and diseases.
  3. Provide supplemental feeding: Continue feeding hives sugar water and pollen substitute. If the bees do not have sufficient food stores for the winter, consider providing them with supplemental feeding.
  4. Insulate the hive: As temperatures begin to drop, consider insulating the hive to help the bees maintain a consistent temperature.
  5. Conduct a mite check: Conduct a mite check and treat for Varroa mites if necessary. It is important to manage mites to ensure the hive’s health during the winter months.
  6. Prepare for winter: September is a crucial time to prepare the hive for the upcoming winter. Ensure that the hive has sufficient food stores, reduce hive space, insulate the hive, and manage pests. Begin or continue reducing hive entrances to prepare for winter

Overall, September is a critical month for beekeepers to focus on preparing the hive for the upcoming winter. Beekeepers should continue to monitor hive health, manage pests, and ensure that the bees have sufficient food stores for the winter months. Consider insulating the hive and reducing hive space to help the bees maintain a consistent temperature.

October:

October is an important month for beekeepers to prepare their hives for winter. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in October:

  1. Monitor hive health: Continue to monitor hive health and population growth. Check for signs of disease, pests, and overall hive health.
  2. Provide supplemental feeding: If the bees do not have sufficient food stores for the winter, continue to provide them with supplemental feeding.
  3. Insulate the hive: Ensure that the hive is well-insulated to help the bees maintain a consistent temperature.
  4. Conduct a mite check: Conduct another mite check and treat for Varroa mites if necessary. Managing mites is critical for the hive’s health during the winter months.
  5. Prepare for winter: Continue to prepare the hive for the upcoming winter. Ensure that the hive has sufficient food stores, insulate the hive, and manage pests.
  6. Remove any excess equipment: As the hive prepares for winter, remove any excess equipment such as empty supers.

Overall, October is a critical month for beekeepers to focus on preparing the hive for the upcoming winter. Beekeepers should continue to monitor hive health, manage pests, and ensure that the bees have sufficient food stores for the winter months. Consider insulating the hive, providing supplemental feeding, and removing any excess equipment from the hive.

November:

November marks the start of the winter season and beekeepers need to ensure that their hives are ready for the cold weather. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in November:

  1. Monitor hive health: Continue to monitor hive health and population growth. Check for signs of disease, pests, and overall hive health.
  2. Provide supplemental feeding: Ensure that the bees have sufficient food stores for the winter. Continue to provide them with supplemental feeding if necessary. Add emergency food stores as needed.
  3. Insulate the hive: Ensure that the hive is well-insulated to help the bees maintain a consistent temperature.
  4. Check for water sources: Be sure that the bees have access to water sources throughout the winter months.
  5. Prepare for winter: Ensure that the hive has sufficient food stores, insulate the hive, and manage pests.
  6. Do not disturb the bees: At this point, it is important to avoid disturbing the bees as they settle in for the winter. Avoid opening the hive unless it is absolutely necessary.

Overall, November is a month for beekeepers to focus on ensuring that their hives are prepared for the winter months. Beekeepers should continue to monitor hive health, manage pests, and provide supplemental feeding if necessary. Ensure that the hive is well-insulated and that the bees have access to water sources. Be sure to avoid disturbing the bees as they prepare for the winter season.

December:

December is a quiet month for beekeeping as bees are typically in hibernation mode during this time of year. However, there are a few things that beekeepers can do to ensure that their hives are prepared for the winter months. Here are some tasks to consider for beekeeping in December:

  1. Monitor hive weight: Check the weight of the hive to ensure that the bees have sufficient food stores. If necessary, provide supplemental feeding to ensure that the bees have enough food to survive the winter.
  2. Insulate the hive: Ensure that the hive is well-insulated to help the bees maintain a consistent temperature.
  3. Check for water sources: Be sure that the bees have access to water sources throughout the winter months.
  4. Protect the hive from winter weather: Consider installing a windbreak or snow fence to protect the hive from harsh winter weather.
  5. Do not disturb the bees: At this point, it is important to avoid disturbing the bees as they are in hibernation mode. Avoid opening the hive unless it is absolutely necessary.

Overall, December is a month for beekeepers to ensure that their hives are prepared for the winter months. Beekeepers should check the weight of the hive, ensure that it is well-insulated, and that the bees have access to water sources. Consider installing a windbreak or snow fence to protect the hive from harsh winter weather. Be sure to avoid disturbing the bees as they hibernate.

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