A Beekeeper's Year

This outline is full of tips and not hard fast rules. In general if you follow these guidelines your hive should survive and thrive. I suggest checking for Varroa during the spring, after extraction and in the fall and winter. The months that are highlighted are the ones that I suggest checking and treating for mites if necessary. This outline also starts in March because March is really the beginning of the year for the Texas beekeeper.

Click here to see some of the the most important tips about keeping a hive healthy that are mostly independent of the year.

Spring Management March 1. As the weather warms up, empty frames of comb that were formally full of food can be rotated in between the frames of brood. This forces the queen to lay in the comb, expanding the brood nest. Be careful! Do not rotate too many frames into the brood circle as it could cause the brood to chill. In cold weather bees cannot even move one frame over to retrieve the life saving honey. 2. Hives may have depleted a large amount of their stores by April, if so, feed sugar syrup and consider feeding pollen substitute if they are not bringing in pollen. Hives will decrease their brood production if they do not have excesses of food. 3. March is a great time to split hives, as they will have enough time to grow to be able produce honey. Splits will need to be heavily fed. 4. Check your Varroa population and treat accordingly. If your hive mite count on a sugar roll that is 2-3. I would suggest treating as the mite population will continue to grow and, you do not want to have to treat your hive during the honey flow. March is great month to requeen.

April 1.April is the start of the honey flow! Continue to feed splits till they are 80% full. 2. DO NOT feed hives with honey super on, as it will produce sugar syrup honey. 3. If you were late on your mite treatment, read the instructions before treating for mites; you do not want to contaminate your honey. 4. Add a honey super when the one below it is 70-80% full. Hives will decrease their nectar intake if they sense that they will run out of room. 5. Nucs can be made up in April. This is also a great month to split full hives. 6. Watch out for swarms!! When a hive is 70% full add another box to help prevent swarming. 7. Do not add a box of foundation on over a queen excluder unless there is all ready a super with drawn comb on top. Bees do not like to draw comb through a queen excluder. 8. If you have an old queen, you may want to requeen so your hive will have a strong queen going into the honey flow. You do not want your queen to fail during honey production. May 1. Disturb the brood nest as little as possible as it will decrease your honey production, but don’t neglect your bees!! Check the brood nest at least once during May. 2. Continue to feed small splits if they will take syrup. It will help them grow much more quickly. Summer Management June 1. The honey flow will start to slow down near the end of June to the middle of July. Harvest honey when it is 70-80% capped, or do the shake test. Shake each frame, if more than a few drops of honey fall out of the frame it is still to wet. 2. After Extraction let the bees clean the honey off the Supers before st