Beekeepers all over the world prepare for the new season at different times and follow a calendar rhythm with beekeeping tasks divided by season. Some of us live in warmer climates and will be starting spring preparations sooner, all the while others still have freezing temperatures and no end in sight for winter.
Whatever the case may be with you, there’s a general understanding of what spring preparations look like and, today, we will be going through some of the most important ones. And remember, you should always supplement any general advice on seasonal beekeeping activity with information specific to your region and location.
ü Check Beekeeping Inventory & Supplies
Late winter is perhaps the best time to plan ahead for the next 6 months or so. If you don’t keep an inventory of the necessary beekeeping equipment, this is the moment to start it and you will be thankful for it later too. It’s extremely important that you stay on top of this particular task, as it will save you time in the long-run. Just think of it this way: wouldn’t you rather focus on daily seasonal activities, especially during the busiest times of the year, rather than worry about shortage of wax, artificial honeycombs, new hives, bee treatments and so on?
The following items might seem trivial, but they are precisely what beekeepers can’t do without:
- facial mesh and body suit – to protect yourself from insect bites and bee stings,
- smokers - needed to calm the bees,
- chisel – to simplify your work,
- new frames – 8-12 frames for every hive. It’s vital to consider the development and expansion of bee families.
- spare hives – in the future they will be needed for cuttings, landing swarms, or at least as a trap,
- electrical equipment like heaters, electron plowers and even an electric drive for the honey extractor with a control unit.
ü Beehives Inspection & Changes
Winter is a quiet season for the bees. They will stay in the hive and live off their food stores and need not be disturbed. By February, check that the bees have enough food. This downtime gives you the chance to prepare your equipment for the rush of activity in the spring and work on other projects.
Spring is the time for colony expansion and swarming. Around March the queen lays eggs and the hive is busy producing food to the new brood. Making sure that everything goes according to plan means keeping a close eye on your hives and checking that the bees have enough food until the flowers bloom. Furthermore, an inspection is required to determine if there’s a solid brood pattern. If you suspect that the queen died, you will need to replace her.
Another good advice is to position an empty hive or two in case some of the bees swarm and are looking for new homes. If you don't do this, you could lose bees that travel elsewhere.
ü Establish Harvesting Calendar
Creating a beekeeper’s calendar can help you plan ahead for a successful year of keeping bees, but you may need to shift the dates later on, according to current weather patterns. However, no matter where you are or what the local forecast holds, knowing what you’ll harvest for the coming months is invaluable information.
We recommend that you join a local beekeeping association or club as it is one of the best ways to learn about the particulars of beekeeping for your region. Yet an easier and faster way would be to install Apiary Book – an app that is dedicated to your beekeeping needs. It keeps track of your inventory and beehives, you can set up your own flower blooming calendar, manage daily to do lists, and amazingly, it connects you with experienced beekeepers who can give you advice when you need it most! Follow the link to install or create an account: https://wj48y.app.goo.gl/BlogApiaryBook