|January||- Make or order spare hives and other equipment required for the coming season.
- See that hive entrances are kept clear of dead bees.
- Note the amount of bee loss in your apiary note book.
- Order package bees now to avoid the last minute rush.
|February||- See that hive entrances are kept clear of dead bees.
- If you have not done so already, order your package bees or queens.
- Lift the hives from the front to determine an estimate of colony honey stores - you should be lifting 45 to 50 pounds. If they are light (or near starving), place two cups pure sugar on newspaper on top of the top bars above the bee cluster or fondant or sugar-bricks or feed 2-4 quarts syrup in a four-hole top-feeder using two parts sugar to one part water.
|March||- Register your hives with the Department of Agriculture.
- Early March on a 50 deg+ day, carefully open the hive for a quick look to check honey stores to be sure there are at least four combs of honey in the hive. Feed 1:1 syrup if there are less than two combs of honey.
- Clean the hive bottom board.
- Mouse guards can be removed about mid-month.
- If colonies are 10 to 12 combs of bees, begin comb rotation (two or three combs with young brood and eggs to center of the bottom box and empty combs to sides of brood (next to honey) in the second box) or reverse brood bodies.
- If the colony is 12 to 15 frames of bees with four to six combs of brood, add the first honey super of drawn comb over a queen excluder (if you use one).
|April||- Monitor for mites and control them if they are over threshold, this is typically acheived using a lighter mite treatment like Api Life Var or Hop Guard II.
- Continue comb rotation. Make sure there are enough honey stores or feed your bees. Hives should have at least one full frame of pollen and several frames of honey. If hive is light & no honey supers, feed the bees a 1:1 sugar syrup mixture.
- Feed pollen supplement if little pollen is found in hive.
- If the colony is continuing to build up, add a honey super every three weeks until June 1 (= 3 deeps or equivalent in westerns = 4-5 total deeps of bees by June 1).
|May||- If you need more drawn comb, give the bees full sheets of foundation to draw out.
- Add no more than two or three frames of foundation at a time to the center of the upper hive body.
- Never divide the brood nest with foundation (i.e. put foundation between combs of brood).
- Queens should now be laying at full capacity.
- Honey yields will be greater if swarming is controlled by removing swarm cells that contain eggs or larvae on the bottom or any edges of the comb.
- Consider making splits to avoid swarming but ensure that colonies have plenty of room to expand to prevent swarming as a result of overcrowding.
- Blueberries are in bloom early in the month.
|June||- Blackberries in bloom around second week; Black Locust around the last week.
- Remove the queen excluder (if you use one) when there is one box (deep or western) mostly full of honey over the brood nest.
- Queens don’t like to cross bands of honey.
- Continue to monitor brood nest crowding.
- Bees sometimes store honey close to and in the brood nest causing crowding, leading to swarms.
- There should be one or two empty brood combs for the queen to lay in.
|July||- If brood nest crowding occurs consider adding another brood nest (western).
- Only remove combs of honey when they are 2/3 capped (nectar won’t shake from combs).
- Early morning or evenings are the best times for removing comb to discourage robbing.
* Note: If you use synthetic (“hard”) miticides, do not use brood nest combs in the honey supers to prevent contaminating honey with miticide residues.
- Identify brood nest combs and boxes (westerns and deeps) with colored paint so that combs are not interchanged if synthetic miticides are used in the hive.
|August||- In mid-August take off the honey supers early in the morning or in the late afternoon so as to prevent robbing of the hive by other colonies of bees.
- Extract any surplus honey that is at least two thirds capped over in a warm bee-proof, ant-proof place.
- Give the wet combs back to the bees over the inner covers to lick clean.
- Treat hives for mites with hard, acid based treatments (Oxalic Acid or Formic Acid) before the end of the month to prepare hives to overwinter.
- Test for treatment effectiveness following mite treatments.
|September||- You may re-queen your colonies now if you did not do so in the spring.
- Unite weak colonies. To winter successfully, each colony should have the equivalent of ten fully capped frames of honey in the second hive body plus honey arches in the lower hive body (equal to about 60 lb. honey), and two or more deep brood combs of pollen.
- If stores are insufficient, colonies should be fed a 2:1 sugar syrup mixture.
- Use top feeders to prevent robbing. Start feeding early in the month, because the bees will not store the syrup and cap the cells when the weather turns cool.
- Try to finish by mid-month.
- Feed one gallon for each deep comb of needed stores. Feed pollen supplement as needed.
- Monitor for mites to make sure the August treatments were adequate.
|October||- Continue to feed bees if necessary but try to finish 2:1 syrup feeding by the time daytime temperatures drop below 50 deg. F.|
|November||- All appliances, supers, etc. should be cleaned and put in a dry place for next year.
- Protect dark combs from wax moth damage.
|December||- Keep the entrances free of dead bees.
- This is a good time to go to beekeeper meetings and read all the beekeeping magazines that have been stacking up all year.
- Repair old equipment, assemble all the new frames and supers you will need next year.
- If you need apiary permits for outyards, apply for them now.