The beekeeper’s activity is always seasonal. Each of the seasons of the year is characterized by certain types of work. There are special tables or calendars that give a short list of mandatory activities in the apiary. They are adjusted depending on the region. For example, in the north, the exit from wintering will be later than in the south, and the main collection of honey will be in June-July.
The apiary in spring and summer is the busiest time for the beekeeper. During this period, there is a peak load. And the amount of honey received by the fall will directly depend on the timely completion of each of the works.
The content of the article
- 1 Approximate work calendar
- 2 July at the apiary
- 3 Getting pollen
- 3.1 Installing pollen traps
- 4 August at the apiary
Approximate work calendar
As noted above, much depends on the specific region and its climatic conditions. Therefore, any work calendar is only an approximate guideline for the beekeeper, which will help him cope well with his duties.
Spring work is divided into two stages: early and late spring. In summer, there is a period of active swarming in June, the main collection of nectar and pollen (honey production), followed by post-sowing weeks and a smooth transition to autumn work.
Seasonal work in the apiary in spring and summer is as follows:
March refers to the second period of the hives staying in the winter house. At this time, beekeepers monitor the state of bee nests both in the wild and in a specially equipped winter house. Hives are visited twice a week. Dead insects are regularly removed from the entrance slots using a wire poker. They also monitor the temperature and humidity, the amount of feed, and fight the spread of rodents.
From April to June inclusive , preparations are made for the main summer bribe. Bee colonies intensively build up their strength and develop. The beekeeper is required to prepare a site for the installation of hives, if they are in the winter house. After the families are taken outside, they are provided with drinking bowls with fresh water, and then each hive is inspected. The revision will allow you to adjust the development of the nests. You can change the queens, create all the conditions for increasing the strength of families. If necessary, incentive feeding is performed, the missing feed is given out. Each nest is shortened and carefully insulated, hulls and stores are installed in multi-hull houses. They are struggling with bee theft, as it causes significant harm to weakened families in the early spring period.
July is the main honey harvest in most regions. The hives are moved closer to the honey plants if the apiary is prepared for wandering. In the same period, it is possible to hatch the queens, to form the so-called early layers. In July, the first pumping of the obtained honey is carried out. Bees begin to actively prepare for wintering, storing food in reserve.
In August, in northern and temperate latitudes, preparation for wintering takes place. In the same month, honey is still being pumped out in the south. It is necessary to inspect the nests, to prepare spare queens and cores for winter, if they are available in the apiary. Feed sugar syrup with added drugs to prevent diarrhea.
You can read more about the main spring work in our separate article: What to do in the apiary in the spring after bees hibernation
What to do in June: What to do in June – basic work in the apiary
July at the apiary
All summer work in the apiary falls on the period of active flowering of honey plants.
Therefore, the mobility of the apiary (the possibility of its free movement) is of decisive importance for a good honey harvest.
Bee houses taken out into the countryside in July are installed in small groups of 30-40 families, placing them in the shade of trees or reliably covering the covers with freshly cut grass. First, insects are allowed to prepare food, creating a reserve for autumn and the coming winter. And only after that they start pumping out excess honey.
In this case, the beekeeper cannot be greedy! It is better to leave the bees a little more honey and bee bread than is required based on the strength of their nest.
In addition to comfortable placement in the shade, it is necessary to take into account other rules for placing hives at a nomadic point:
- The shorter the distance to flowering plants, the easier it is for the bees to work.
- Strong nests are provided with a sufficient number of combs first. They will provide the main income.
- A control hive must be installed. Weighing it daily will help predict the strength of the bribe.
- You should avoid installing houses on the flight – the intersection of airways along which bees fly for nectar from neighboring apiaries.
- Do not place hives near large bodies of water. This is an additional source of dampness, which provokes the spread of rotten infections of the brood.
- The installation is carried out taking into account the prevailing winds in a particular area. It is good if the hives are protected from the wind by a nearby planting or shrubs.
- It is important to take into account the quality of the access roads, because you will have to get to the point even in bad weather.
- The opening slots are opened completely immediately upon completion of the installation of the hives at the selected location. This rule is especially important to observe at elevated air temperatures.
- In the first two days after the move, examinations cannot be carried out – the insects are not yet accustomed to the new area.
- In the first hours after arrival, only every third hive in a row is released for flying in order to avoid strengthening some nests at the expense of others.
The first 4-5 frames, filled with honey, must be selected and left as a winter reserve! The probability of the presence of a honeydew in nature for July is low.
During this period, almost all bees in colonies switch to active collection of pollen and nectar. All empty cells are quickly filled with honey – the work of the queens is naturally limited, and the beekeeper gets the opportunity to collect the main bribe.
The selection of frames is carried out in the early morning, before the mass flight of insects. The honeycomb must be ripe – at least two-thirds sealed. At the same time, honey hardly drips from open cells, even if the frame is turned horizontally.
If there is a danger of attack, the frames can be removed after eight o’clock in the evening. It is practical and convenient. Pumping is carried out late in the evening and the vacated cells are placed without waiting for the morning. During the night, insects will cleanse them of drops of honey, and in the morning they will begin to fill them with fresh nectar.
Note: If you set the frames in the morning, with sunrise, honey collection will be suspended – insects will begin to dry the cells and prepare them for pouring honey.
June bribe is formed mainly due to buckwheat, alfalfa, flowering gardens, linden, sweet clover and meadow forbs. The result of the work of bees will be the production of high-quality honey with excellent taste characteristics and medicinal properties.
The summer calendar of work in the apiary also includes taking care of the condition of families for the next honey harvest, which will come in a year. To do this, by the end of the main honey collection, all queens that do not differ in high egg production are replaced.
For the preparation of pollen, beekeepers use special devices – pollen traps. They are mounted on a notch during the period of mass flowering of honey plants.
The collection of pollen in the apiary in different regions begins, focusing on certain plants. For example, for the south of Ukraine, this is the flowering of apple trees. In central Russia, the signal for collecting pollen is the blossoming of willow crops.
Pollen traps are mounted on hives that have at least eight, and better than ten, insect-inhabited streets, and a sufficient amount of feed. That is, honey-pepper frames must be present in the nest, which provide the young bees with protein feeding.
The period of abundant flow is just the easiest to determine by the state of the pollen traps. The collected pollen may become slightly damp. After all, insects with full goiter hardly squeeze through the holes and lose (regurgitate) part of the nectar. With the onset of such a flow, the lattices of the pollen traps rise slightly.
The devices are not removed from the hives until mid-August. During the season, you can collect up to 30-40% of the pollen brought by bees. This does not affect the winter hardiness of insects, the collection of nectar, the construction of honeycombs and the rearing of young animals.
The pollen is harvested in any weather and regardless of the speed of development of families. In any case, the bees manage to carry up to 30% of the pollen into their home. And this amount is quite enough to strengthen the bee colonies.
In addition, the selection of pollen acts as a stimulant on insects. They strive to prepare as much stock as possible and bring up to 1 kilogram of pollen per day.
Video describing the collection of footsteps :
The resulting product is removed from the tray of the device daily or every two days. Then it is sieved and dried in an electric dryer at a temperature not higher than +40 degrees. The polish is stored in a glass container, sealed. The container must be placed in the refrigerator door to avoid damage to the product.
Installation of pollen traps
Each device is firmly attached to the front wall of the hive opposite the lower tap hole and secured there with small nails or self-tapping screws. The cutout for the exit of the drones is closed – they will go through the upper entrance.
The pollen trap is started in two ways:
- A lattice with holes is immediately lowered so that insects in two or three days adapt to such a narrow passage into the hive.
- On the first day, the grate is not lowered. Then, for two or three days, it is covered by half. Finally, they are closed completely.
The second method is considered to be more gentle, since it allows not to distract bees from active honey collection. And in the first case, work may stop for two or three days, until you are completely accustomed to the narrow openings of the lattice.
August in the apiary
In August, work in the apiary is preparation for the upcoming wintering. This is a very important period in the life of a beekeeper.
The nights are getting cooler. The bees begin to drive out the drones. If the drones are not expelled naturally, this indicates that the nest is not well. The beekeeper should pay special attention to him, since the males eat the food without bringing any benefit.
In the southern regions, in the middle or at the end of August, they are engaged in pumping out commercial honey. After that, the honeycombs are sorted, the low-quality are discarded and melted onto wax. High-quality dry land is placed in a frame storage – it goes for the spring-summer expansion of the nests.
Frames completely filled with bee bread must be removed. Bee bread drenched in honey in winter can lead to illness and death of insects. Such combs are used in spring as a top dressing.
In August, the amount of abandoned feed is monitored. In winter, honey obtained from yellow acacia is considered the best food. For each nest, at least 12 kilograms of honey should be issued. Pad is excluded from it – such food quickly overwhelms the intestines and leads to severe diarrhea.
By the end of the summer season, bees put up increased protection near all the entrance cracks. This is a kind of signal for the gradual reduction of the entrances and the installation of traps for ubiquitous wasps near the apiary.
You can read about how to deal with the attack of thief wasps in our separate article: How to get rid of wasps and hornets annoying in the apiary
Careless inspection can provoke an attack by thief insects!
The purpose of the August revision of bee colonies:
- determining their strength and reducing the nest in accordance with the number of insects;
- unification of weak nests;
- rejection of low-quality honeycombs;
- the formation of bee nests (in the south this is done in September, until the 21st);
- preservation of spare queens in cores (they will come in handy in the spring);
- the formation of layers with old queens when they are replaced – such colonies are placed next to the main nest, they well increase the mass of bees.
Another August concern is the provision of preventive feeding for the fight against nosematosis . For this, a 50% sugar syrup is prepared. One bottle of “Fumagillin” is taken for 25 liters of top dressing. The medicine is given at night at the rate of 3 liters per family.
Previously, “Fumagillin” is dissolved in a small amount of warm water and only after that it is mixed with syrup heated to 37 degrees.
The final formation of bee colonies is carried out only when the number of young animals in the nests is significantly reduced. From this moment, the autumn work begins.
You can read more about the autumn work here. Useful tips for autumn work in the apiary