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A Picture of a Calendar The beekeepers Year


The beekeeping season starts at the end of August when the honey has been taken off and we need to get the bees ready for winter. Use the scroll bars at the side to read the whole story, or download the PDF version using the link supplied.


September


It is time now to feed the colony for the winter replacing the Honey taken. This is done by adding 1 Kg bag of Granulated Sugar to a pint of water and heating until all the sugar is in solution, add Fumidil B for Nosema. The colony will need at least 15 Kg (more for the bigger hives) of this Syrup to make it through the cold months ahead. Feeding needs to be completed before the end of the month allowing the colony to process off the excess water. Remove Varroa strips after 42 days. Fit a mouse guard to the entrance.  


Essential Equipment

Protective Clothing,

Smoker, Hive Tools.

Record Book.

Feeder and Syrup with Fumadil B. Feeders.

Large Eke for bucket type feeders.



October, November and December

With all the required syrup now in the brood chamber all should be well for winter. Fit a mouse guard to the entrance if not done already. Protect the hives from wood pecker damage (e.g. use chicken wire loosely fitted around each hive). Strap and or weigh down the roof against winter wind. Monitor the now small entrance regularly for the build up of dead bees. Bees are dying all the time and just a few can block the entrance leaving the others unable to get out for water or toileting. Unchecked a few dead bees can lead to the loss of the whole colony. Keep a regular check for Woodpecker damage or rain getting in. Be aware that deer or other animals could knock the hive over rubbing against to satisfy an itch. Feeding should not be required yet but keep an emergency block of Candy with you just in case, Most of the colonies that die out are due to starvation. Most important remember bees are Livestock and we have a duty to look after them as best we can.

Treat each colony once every winter with Oxalic acid after a period of very cold weather when brood should be at its minimum level.


Essential Equipment

Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.

Record card. Blocks or bricks.

Straps. Mouse guards. Chicken wire

Ply, foam, Drawing pins etc. Straps, Bricks, wedge.

Candy in tubs or blocks.

Oxalic acid and either an evaporator or a syringe.

Check Varroa drop if you use Open Mesh floors (OMF)

Books Videos and magazines and especially Fera’s advisory booklets


December, January & February

Monitor hive entrance for build up of dead bees and blockage. Wedge up the back of the hive to ensure the floor slopes gently forwards. (Not necessary if you use Open Mesh Floors). Repair any damage to stop wind / weather getting. Ensure the roof is secure; bricks, blocks and/or a strap will do the job.  Ensure protection against woodpecker damage (e.g. chicken wire) is in place. Gently heft (lift) the hive to check food weight, if light put block of Candy over the feedhole, a shallow eke may be needed. Record your observations for each Hive every time you visit; more reliable than a memory!

Treat each colony once every winter with Oxalic acid after a period of very cold weather when brood should be at its minimum level.


Essential Equipment

Protective Clothing,

Smoker,

Hive Tools.

Record card.

Ply, foam, Drawing pins etc.

Straps, Bricks, wedge.

Candy in tubs or blocks,

Shallow Eke to allow candy block over Crown Board.

Oxalic acid and either an evaporator or a syringe.

Check Varroa drop if you use Open Mesh floors (OMF)



March

During early March continue to monitor the Hive entrance for damage by weather or attack, Animal or Human! Pay close attention to weight of the hive if weather is warming up the colony should be growing quickly and food consumption will increase considerably, replace Candy block if consumed. Later on consider giving a weak Syrup (weather dependent).

Essential Equipment

Protective Clothing,

Smoker,

Hive Tools.

As above later in the month possibly a liquid feeder and syrup.

Record card.


April

The colony should be growing very quickly now so food supply will need to be maintained if the hive is light. Feed if required with half strength Syrup. On a warm day remove the Eke, Entrance Block and Mouse Guard if fitted. Change the Floor for a clean one prepared during winter.

Later remove the Feeder and put on a Queen Excluder and a Super(s) if required to give space for the growing numbers. Remember: Integrate Pest Management (IPM) following advice by Fera. Be vigilant Swarming can begin in late April! Consider one or more “Bait hives” in the Apiary to catch Swarms.


Essential Equipment

Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.

Feeder and Syrup.

Varroa Treatment.

Clean sound floor with no gaps for Wax Moth to occupy, preferably “flamed”.

Queen Excluder and Super/s.

Sterilise your extractor for use.

Bag for rubbish removal.

Bait Hive and Swarm Lure.

Record card.


April/May

On a warm day, begin thorough and regular inspections of the Brood Comb. Check that the colony has: sufficient room, the queen is laying expected quantity of eggs, the colony building up as expected, any queen cells present, any signs of disease or abnormalities, sufficient stores (pollen and honey). Work old comb to the outside so that it can be removed and replaced. Old comb harbours disease and should be replaced systematically as good practice. Aim to change 35% per annum. If necessary remove outside frames clogged with food. These can be given back in the Autumn after storing in the freezer. Ensure enough food and Pollen remains in the brood Chamber. Place new frames and Foundation either side of the brood nest to allow the Queen to increase her nest size. Congestion can cause swarming. Additional Supers may now be required. Remember: Integrate Pest Management (IPM) following advice by Fera. Consider one or more “Bait hives” in the Apiary to catch Swarms.


Essential Equipment

Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.

New Frames and Foundation. Spare Brood Chamber/s for carrying Frames in and out of Apiary.

Spare Supers ready to use or to exchange for extraction.

Bait Hives & Swarm Lures.

Bag for rubbish removal.

Record card.


June

Continue to examine (and if possible exchange) Brood Frames for any signs of disease or swarming. The brood should be able to occupy most of the Brood Chamber this month. Continue weekly checks to ensure that the colony has: sufficient room, the queen is laying expected quantity of eggs, the colony building up as expected, any queen cells present, any signs of disease or abnormalities, sufficient stores (pollen and honey). Swarming will continue through June so you will have to continue to be vigilant. Extract honey if your bees have been collection nectar from Oil Seed Rape. You may be able to take off some frames of capped Honey or even complete Supers, ensure you have empty Frames or Supers to replace those taken. Remember: Integrate Pest Management (IPM) following advice by Fera.


Essential Equipment

Protective Clothing,

Smoker,

Hive Tools.

Record card.

New Brood Frames and Foundation.

Spare Supers with Frames and Foundation.

Bee Escapes for clearing Supers. Bee Brush.

Honey extraction equipment.


July & August

Swarming should be over by early July allowing the Colony and you to concentrate on collecting Nectar. The Honey for harvesting and the Queen Excluder should be taken off in early August allowing the bees to collect what little remains for themselves. Continue Integrate Pest Management (IPM) following advice by Fera. In August apply Thymol as per manufactory’s instructions. Check Varroa drop. August insert Entrance block to reduce entrances so the diminishing colony can defend against Wasps.


Essential Equipment

Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.

Record card.

Thymol treatment (e.g.: Apiguard)

Spare Supers with Frames and Foundation.

Bee Escapes for clearing Supers.

Bee Brush.

Entrance Blocks.

Wasps traps.



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