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A Beekeepers Calanader, What to do for each month?

A Beekeepers Calanader, What to do for each month?

Posted by Bruce on 24th Jan 2022

Here, we discuss the various activities beekeepers can think about each month. This can help you plan out what you need in advance so you aren't left bewildered or stuck without vital equipment to keep your bees buzzing. This guide goes through each month looking at the different things to watch out for, or what you can expect, when inspecting your hive. We then discuss the tasks that can be carried out that month so you can better prepare. 


In the Hive

If the weather is good, the nectar/honey flows this month. On hot and humid nights, you may see a huge curtain of bees cooling themselves on the exterior of the hive.

Beekeeping Tasks

Continue inspections to assure the health of your colony. Add more honey supers if needed. Keep your fingers crossed in anticipation of a great honey harvest.


In the Hive

The colony’s growth is diminishing. Drones are still around, but outside activity begins to slow down as the nectar flow slows.

Beekeeping Tasks

No more chance of swarming. Watch for honey robbing by wasps or other bees.

  • Test for Varroa mite levels and treat if necessary, especially if in acute phase
  • American foulbrood check
  • Harvest and extract honey before applying varroa treatments
  • Harvest and extract honey
  • Late summer queen rearing
  • Check for wasps


In the Hive

The drones may begin to disappear this month. The hive population starts dropping as the queen’s egg laying reduces.

Beekeeping Tasks

Harvest your honey crop. Remember to leave the colony with at least 25 kilograms of honey for winter.

I like to leave 4 frames of honey in each brood box.

Check for the queen’s presence.

  • Test for Varroa mite levels and treat if necessary ( WE NOW HIVE STOCK OF APISTAN you can purchase 10 strips in a pouch or 10 pouches = 1 box / 100 strips).
  • Varroa sugar shake jars.
  • Harvest and extract honey (We have jars in stock all different shapes and sizes plastic & glass)
  • 10 & 20 lit Buckets, capping knives electric and cold.
  • Honey labels. Honey filters
  • Requeen hives
  • Check for wasp damage - WASP trapes - WASP nest spray.
  • Sell or store honey crop
  • Store honey supers or return to hives


In the Hive

You may be taking off the last of your honey, try using a bee escape makes life a lot easier.

Bees are slowing up slightly but if we have a mild winter like last year they might cruise through it and come out the other side reasonable strong. But remember we only need a couple of wet or cold days for them to munch through their honey store so be vigilant over winter.

Wasps are now hitting us hard give us a call to discuss ways of stopping them.

Beekeeping Tasks

Watch out for robbing. Install inner cover wedges for ventilation. Install mouse guard at entrance of hive. Place insulate boards under hive cover to help keep colony dry if your hive is in a particularly wet area. Setup a wind break if necessary. Finish winter feeding.

Just remember to tilt your hive slightly forward to allow rain drainage.

  • Remove Varroa treatment to the manufactures specifications
  • Prepare hives for wintering down:
  • Feed check - do the bees have enough stores to last throughout winter?
  • Check all brood frames for American Foulbrood
  • Scrape surplus wax from hive parts
  • Check bottom boards and fit entrance reducers
  • Replace any rotten or damaged hive parts
  • Control weeds
  • Check hives are protected from stock
  • Apply mouse bait if necessary


In the Hive

Even less activity this month. The cold weather will send them into a cluster.

Beekeeping Tasks

  • Remove Varroa treatment products applied in March
  • Test Varroa mite levels and treat if necessary
  • Feed sugar syrup if necessary
  • Winter down hives
  • Bring in honey supers stored on hives
  • Sort combs before storage
  • Freeze combs for wax moth control


In the Hive

The bees are in a tight cluster. No peeking.

Beekeeping Tasks

There’s not much you can do with the bees. Read a good book on beekeeping!

  • Render down wax
  • Make up new equipment for next season


In the Hive

The queen is surrounded by thousand of her workers. She is in the midst of their winter cluster. There is little activity except on a warm day (about 7-10 degrees Celcius) when the workers will take the opportunity to make cleansing flights. There are no drones in the hive, but some worker brood will begin to appear in the hive. The bees may consume up to 10 kilograms of stored honey this month.

The Bee Hive has a great supply of frame and top feeders. Think about feeding your bee's

Beekeeping Tasks

Little work is required from you at the hives. If there is snow, make certain the entrance to the hive is cleared to allow for proper ventilation. This is a great time to catch up on your reading about bees, attend bee club meetings, and build and repair equipment for next season. Order package bees (if needed) from a reputable supplier.

Now's the time to call into The Bee Hive and purchase frames, feeders, box's in readiness for Spring.

  • Remove Varroa treatment products applied in May
  • Make up new equipment for replacement or increase in hives


In the Hive

The queen, still cozy in the cluster, will begin to lay a few more eggs each day. It is still “females only” in the hive. Workers will take cleansing flights on mild days. The bees may consume up to 10 kilograms of stored honey this month.

Beekeeping Tasks

There is not too much to do this month. Attend bee club meetings/workshops, read and ready your equipment for spring.

  • Prepare for new seasons work
  • Prepare queen raising equipment if you are going to raise your own
  • Prepare feeding equipment and supplies of sugar
  • Check grass spraying or cutting gear
  • Assemble frames for new season and have wax or plastic foundation on hand


In the Hive

This is the month when colonies can die of starvation. However, if you fed them plenty of sugar syrup in the autumn this should not happen. With the days growing longer, the queen steadily increases her rate of egg laying. More brood means more food consumed. The bees will continue to consume honey stores.

Beekeeping Tasks

Early in the month, on a nice mild day, and when there is no wind and bees are flying, you can have a quick peek inside your hive. It’s best not to remove the frames. Just have a look-see under the cover. If you do not see any sealed honey in the top frames, you may need to begin some emergency feeding. But remember, once you start, you should not stop until they are bringing in their own food supplies. If you are planning on getting swarms have enough equipment on hand and ready to go.

  • Apply Varroa treatment if surplus honey flow expected in next 8 weeks
  • Check all brood frames for American Foulbrood
  • Feed sugar syrup if necessary
  • Spray or cut vegetation around hives
  • Stimulate hives for queen rearing
  • Hives can be split late in the month or when there are plenty of adult drones present
  • Unite any weak or queenless hives, with stronger queenright hives, especially if you prefer not to increase hive numbers
  • Prepare for queen-raising programme


In the Hive

The weather begins to improve, and the early blossoms begin to appear. The bees begin to bring pollen into the hive. The queen is busily laying eggs, and the population is growing fast. The drones will begin to appear.

Beekeeping Tasks

On a warm and still day do your first comprehensive inspection. Can you find evidence of the queen? Are there plenty of eggs and brood? Is there a nice pattern to her egg laying? Later in the month, on a very mild and windless day, you should consider reversing the hive brood boxes. This will allow for a better distribution of brood, and stimulate the growth of the colony. You can begin to feed the hive .

  • Apply Varroa treatment if not already applied in September or hives are showing mite damage
  • Remove entrance guards
  • Feed sugar syrup if necessary
  • Check pollen stores and feed supplements if required
  • Check all brood frames for American Foulbrood
  • Control Swarms
  • Re-queen hives
  • Split hives


In the Hive

Now the activity really starts hopping. The nectar and pollen should begin to come into the hive thick and fast. The queen will be reaching her greatest rate of egg laying. The hive should be bursting with activity.

Beekeeping Tasks

Add a queen excluder, and place honey supers on top of the top deep. Watch out for swarming. Inspect the hive weekly. Attend bee club meetings and workshops.

  • Remove Varroa treatment products applied in September
  • Check Varroa treatment products have worked, especially organic treatments
  • Feed sugar syrup if necessary
  • Pollen check
  • Check all brood frames for American Foulbrood
  • Rear and mate queens
  • Control Swarms
  • Super up hives
  • Requeen hives


In the Hive

Unswarmed colonies will be boiling with bees. The queen’s rate of egg laying may drop a bit this month. The main honey flow should happen this month.

Beekeeping Tasks

Inspect the hive weekly to make certain the hive is healthy and the queen is present. Add honey supers as needed. Keep up swarm inspections. Attend bee club meetings and workshops.

  • Remove Varroa treatment products applied in October
  • Feed sugar syrup if necessary
  • Manipulate hives
  • Introduce nucleus hives
  • Check supers for wax moth
  • Super up
  • Prepare honey house equipment
  • Harvest and extract early crops