The Beekeeper’s Yearly Management Calendar
 
January 15th to February 1st
• Population starts increasing as you continue feeding artificial pollen.
• Test, and if necessary, treat for Varroa mites.  One treatment is to use 2 Apivar strips per hive body.  Record date of installation. Leave strips in for 45 – 56 days, but no more.   Varroa treatment must be in by February 1 in order to install honey supers April 1.  More About Varroa
• Treat for Tracheal Mites, either with Menthol Crystals, Shop Towels or Sugar/Oil Patties.  More About Tracheal Mites
• Consider splitting hives in good condition to prevent swarming.  If you have extra honey frames stored, they make great food for new splits.   More About Avoiding Swarming
• Keep checking stores and feed if needed.
February 1st until sufficient nectar is available
• Check honey supply on each hive and feed with sugar syrup if hive has less than half a super of honey.  Feeding at this time of year also stimulates brood production, helping ensure a large population in time for honey season.
• Feed 1:1 sugar syrup this time of year.  For a pail feeder, mix 6 cups of hot tap water with 6 cups of cane sugar.  For a hive top feeder, mix 1 gallon + 1 pint of hot tap water with 10 pounds of cane sugar.  More About Feeding
• Medicate with Fumidil-B for Nosema control (mix as directed and feed in sugar syrup).
• Remind all area peach growers to use caution with pesticides, especially Pencap-M, to avoid killing honeybees.
• Begin increasing the entrance size as foraging traffic picks up.  Red Maple begins blooming in early February, this is the bee's signal to get going.
• Be on the lookout for a crowded brood nest, remove frames of brood and make splits if necessary to keep the hive from swarming.  More About Swarming.
 
March 1st to 15th (Temperature above 60 degrees)
• Exchange brood boxes if two exist or add 2nd if only one exists. If you add a brood box, place it above existing brood box. (Some beekeepers may prefer only one brood box.)  Use caution and avoid splitting the nest.  More About Exchanging the Brood Boxes
• Continue enlarging the hive entrance.   More About Entrance Reducers
• Check the brood comb and replace frames that have excessive drone cells and excessively small (old) worker cells.  In general brood frames should be replaced about every five years.  Replacing a few every year will accomplish this.
• Consider combining weak hives (see September).
• Place bait hives to catch new swarms. Bait hives should have one vial each of pheromone bee attractant and should be positioned 8 to 9 feet above ground level.  Swarms prefer old icky comb to newer comb or foundation.
• Take out Api-Var strips or other varroa treatment. Leave strips in for 45 to 56 days, but no more.  (Be sure to remove at least two weeks before installing honey supers.)
• Check for queen cells and cut them out, assuming the current queen is still there.  Repeat every ten days for about four times.  More About Avoiding Swarming
 
 
April 1st
• Install honey supers on all hives. On strong hives, install four supers if frames have drawn comb or two supers if frames have foundation comb. Weak or medium hives should receive fewer supers accordingly. Periodic checks should be made during the honey flow to see if additional supers are needed.
• Remove the entrance reducer.  More About Entrance Reducers
 
June 15th to July 15th
• Harvest honey crop   More About Taking Honey
• Replace wet supers on hives for the bees to clean up – place one empty super body (with no frames) between wet supers and hive.
June 15th
• Sourwood season starts in the mountains.
July 1st or after honey supers are cleaned
• Remove dry supers for storage. Supers should be stacked tightly with par dichlorobenzene crystals on a paper plate or piece of newspaper between each 5 supers, and wrapped securely in plastic. (Remember the fumes from the moth crystals move down as they evaporate.)  Or, stack the supers outdoors under cover, with spacers so that air and light reach the frames.
• Test, and if necessary, treat for Varroa mites, after supers have been removed.  One treatment is to use 2 Api-Var strips per hive body.  Record date of installation. Leave strips in for 45 – 56 days, but no more.  Follow directions exactly for whatever mite product you are using. 
 

August 20th through September 20th
• Re-queen all hives with good quality queens.   More About Re-queening
• Take out Api-Var strips, or other varroa treatment, which were put in about July 1. Leave strips in for 45 to 56 days, but no more.  Follow directions exactly for whatever mite product you are using.
September (After honey supers are removed)
• It is no longer recommended practice to routinely medicate with Terramycin to prevent American Foulbrood.  Terramycin should only be used if recommended by a bee inspector for treating a slight case of American or European Foulbrood.  More About Foulbrood
September and October
• Start checking winter stores and evaluate hive strength.  Double hive body hives should have 12 or more frames completely filled with capped honey.  Each hive body should weigh 50+ pounds.  At the end of October bees should cover at least half the frames in both hive bodies. 
• Feed hives that don't have enough stores of their own.  Feed sugar syrup with a ratio of 2:1 sugar:water in the fall to promote stores.  It is easier on the bees to feed them in the warmer autumn months, rather than waiting until cold weather sets in.  Of course, you can leave some summer honey on the hive instead of taking it for yourself.  Watch out for robbing.   More About Feeding
• Combine weak hives. Use newspaper method to combine a single hive body from two different hives into one double-body hive.  Pick the stronger queen to rule the new combined hive, then catch and kill the weaker queen.  Cover the bottom hive body with a single sheet of newspaper, and make two or three slits in the paper.  Put the upper hive body on top of the newspaper.  The bees will chew the paper to remove it, and by the time they have achieved this the pheromones will be mixed and they will not fight.
• If you can spare some extra frames of honey, consider storing it (maybe in the freezer) to use in early spring when making splits.

October 1st
• Start reducing the hive entrance to prevent mice from getting into the hive.  More About Entrance Reducers
• Medicate with Fumidil-B for Nosema control. Mix two parts sugar to one part water for fall syrup, then mix one level teaspoon of Fumidil-B per gallon of water, or one (0.5 g. ([500 mg]) bottle of Fumidil-B to 44 lbs of granulated sugar with enough water to make six gallons of syrup. (Note spring treatment in March). Feed two gallons per hive.
November and December
• Make repairs on your equipment, assemble new equipment, and make some of those time saver gadgets.
• Continue reducing the entrance size to accommodate the reduced bee traffic.
• Keep an eye on winter stores, and feed if needed.
• Ventilate the hives with 1/8th inch crack at the front of the inner cover, unless you are feeding.  More About Ventilation
December to February
• Just after Christmas when the temperature is above 50 degrees, feed pollen substitute – 1 to 1 ½ pounds per hive. Mixture: three parts soybean meal, one part dried brewers yeast and one part powdered milk.
• Keep an eye on winter stores, and feed if needed.
• Take part in a local beekeepers’ association.  Read some new books, catch up on Bee Culture and American Bee Journal.
 
November and December
• Make repairs on your equipment, assemble new equipment, and make some of those time saver gadgets.
• Continue reducing the entrance size to accommodate the reduced bee traffic.
• Keep an eye on winter stores, and feed if needed.
• Ventilate the hives with 1/8th inch crack at the front of the inner cover, unless you are feeding.  More About Ventilation


 
 
 
 
 

• Attend the NC State Beekeepers Association Summer Meeting.
GOOD LUCK ---- PAUL BROWN, BEEPEEPER