A Year in the Beehive


September

September is the first month in the beekeeper’s year. It is the last chance to prepare for winter and ensure that there are lots of young healthy mite-free bees on the way. Make sure that each hive has at least 70 lbs. of honey stores, and continue protein supplements if […]

Hygenic bees

October

In October, drones are often gone from the hive, and brood rearing is reduced. It is a quiet month for beekeeping. Supplementing with protein patties and 2:1 syrup is still OK, but only if necessary. The window is closing for getting your hive ready for winter. If it is is a […]


November

Here in southern Oregon, excessive moisture in the hive is one of the biggest concerns. Consider using a telescoping cover instead of a migratory lid so that the lid is watertight. If the bottom board is solid, the hive should be tilted so that water drains out and away. Make sure there […]


January

  In January, the bees continue to cluster, flying only on sunny days when it is 50 degrees or warmer. The queen begins to lay eggs, and brood rearing begins in the largest, healthiest hives. In warm years, the foragers may be able to collect some pollen. If you want to […]


February

In our area, February brings increasingly warm weather and signals the end of the quiescent time in the bees’ yearly cycle. If you need new bees, NOW is the time to order. Locally grown NUCs are your best option. Andrew Watson at Applegate Apiaries and John Jacob at Old Sol […]

Honey bee on crocus

March

In good weather, the bees can begin to bring nectar and pollen to the hive from early blooms. Strong, successful hives may begin to think about swarming late in the month. Pick a nice sunny day to perform a thorough inspection for eggs, brood pattern, disease, and stores. John talked […]


April

April can be a tricky month. In wet years, starvation is a risk, and in warm dry years, swarming can be an issue. Strong hives can be divided with natural queen cells or purchased queens. If the hives have decent stores and splitting them is not desired, many beekeepers begin […]


May

Swarm season is in full swing and buildup should be strong. This is a great month to make divide hives and raise queens. If large hives are not going to be split, make sure to maintain an open brood nest by ‘checkerboarding’ empty combs in the brood nest. Super early […]


June

Blackberries are in full bloom this month; nectar flow will be at its zenith. Super ahead of the need for space — it increases honey production and reduces swarming. You may want to walk through your apiary and reshuffle the supers away from hives that are lagging behind and give […]


July

July is the beginning of a difficult season for beekeeping in southern Oregon. Most wax is drawn by now, and the summer dearth begins. It will be difficult to get the bees to make wax without stimulative feeding. Most honey production is done for the year, so get it harvested […]


August

Contributed by Dewey M. Caron August is not a month for much bee work. It is too hot and colonies can be a bit testy. Keep water nearby and give them some supplemental shade in the afternoon if you are concerned. August however is the month to determine how the bees […]