The activities of bees follow the seasons, and beekeepers must follow the bees. So the answer to the question “When is bee season?” is actually that it’s always bee season. Spring and summer are the busiest times of the year, but the fall and winter have their share of beekeeping tasks. Besides the seasons, the activity of bees is also affected by local weather variations.
You should supplement any general advice on seasonal beekeeping activity with information specific to your region and location. Beekeepers that are trying to plan their activities are always asking themselves "when is bee season?" in relation to their current time and place, so it's always a good idea to network with other local beekeepers in the area. Local suppliers too can offer helpful tips about how to plan your yearly schedule to care for your hive.
What Is Bee Season?
Beekeeping is a popular occupation or hobby all over the world, and people have many reasons for keeping apiaries: they might have concerns about the alarming decline in bee populations reported in recent years, they may be gardeners or farmers who want these pollinators to have a permanent presence on their land, or they may take up beekeeping because they love being around bees. Having your own supply honey is also great motivation to keep a beehive of your own!
When Is Bee Season?
So, when is bee season? The simple answer is that it is bee season all year, but bees and beekeepers are most active in the spring and summer. However, bee hives need care in the fall and winter as well, even if the bees don't seem as active. Whatever the reasons for taking up beekeeping, people quickly come to realize that planning can help make or break the success of the venture. In fact, knowing the answer to the question of "when is bee season?" in your local area before you so much as invest in a hive, since that will give you an idea of how which much and what kind of effort will be required.
Before you begin, make sure you understand the basics about beekeeping and what it entails so you aren't surprised by how much time, money, and other resources caring for a hive will take. It helps to have a well-researched plan and a solid knowledge base about bees and beekeeping before you start. This means finding out about local ordinances, and also the time and effort that will be required.
If you live in an urban area, you must make sure that there are no local laws against keeping bees. There may also be a limit to the number of hives you can keep on your property. It’s also very important to talk to your neighbors and make sure they have no objections. It helps if you can put up a sign letting your neighbors and visitors know of the presence of the hives. Keep in mind that if you or anyone in your family or close neighborhood is allergic to bee stings, this is not a suitable project.
What You Will Need
Once you’ve cleared these first steps and answered the question of "when is bee season?" in your local area, it’s time to move on to planning your bee colony. For basic equipment, you will need a hive, hive stand, hive tool, a smoker to calm the bees, and a bee suit. You can buy a wooden hive or build your own, but if you’re just starting out, it’s best to go get one that’s ready to receive the bees.
You should place your bee hive on some kind of stand to keep it off the ground and away from unwanted pests, like ants, and many people use cement blocks topped with wood planks. The best location for a hive is one that receives early morning sun. It should be near a high fence and in an area where the bees won't get disturbed too often. Once the hive is ready, it is ready for its new occupants.
Bring In The Bees
Introducing your bees to their new home is an important step, but first, you have to find your bees. The easiest way is to buy them online or from a local supplier. You get packaged bees or "nucs" which are small already-functioning bee colonies. Packaged bees will need help to settle into their new home. You can begin by installing the queen near the comb or wax foundation and shaking the bees into the hive. Spraying the bees with sugar water keeps them from swarming at this stage. Alternatively, you can just place the package in the hive, and the bees will settle in on their own.
Caring For Your Hive
To help your bees establish themselves until they can find local sources of nectar and pollen, you must feed them for the first few days. You can set up feeding stations with a solution that is two parts sugar to one part water. The feeding station can be a jar with holes so that the bees can reach the solution. Finally, make sure you have freed the queen bee from her enclosure so she can lay eggs and keep building the colony. Once your hive is established, you're ready to follow the yearly beekeeping schedule.
Beekeeping Yearly Schedule
Bees follow the seasons but also respond to variations in weather. If summer is unusually hot or the winter extra long, they may need more care. A general guide to when is bee season can be helpful, but supplement it with local knowledge and updates. Joining a local beekeepers group is a good way to keep track of when is bee season and how to care that your hive needs at different times of the year.
Spring Is The Busiest Time For Bees And Beekeepers
This is the time for colony expansion and swarming. Beginning around March, the queen lays eggs, and the hive is busy producing food for the new brood. It’s also the time when the bees may be at risk of starvation since wild food sources are sparse this time of the year, so consider supplying your bees with feeding stations using the sugar-water syrup recipe described below.
This is also a good time to replace old frames. For those who are planning to expand their colony, spring is the time when queens and package bees are available. You can use the new queens to create new hives with the bees you already have or with new packaged bees. By April honey making is at its peak in the south. Hive activity peaks in May in more northern regions.
Late spring into early summer is the season for swarming when bees leave their hives to look for new homes. You can prevent swarming by equalizing colonies, by moving part of a brood from a stronger colony to a weaker one. Some beekeepers use checker boarding to prevent swarming. You do this by placing empty frames and honeycomb alternately with brood chambers and gives the bees enough room, so they need not look for a new home.
Honey Flows Peak In Summer
Summer is the busiest time for the hive. If the weather is hot and dry, the bees may need help with feeding and watering stations. By the end of the summer, there will be plenty of honey as the hive numbers fall and the honey flows are at their peak. By August, the hive will need a wasp guard to protect the honey.
Fall: Getting Ready For Winter
As the bees prepare for winter, help them out by making sure they have a sufficient supply of food. By September, the population of the bee hive population reduces as the queen stops laying eggs and the drones get ejected by the worker bees. By November, the bees will cluster in the hive and will have ended their activity for the year. For beekeepers, this is a good time to remove extra frames and to check for mites and pests. Also, tilt your hives forward slightly to prevent water from collecting, and secure them for winter.
Winter Is The Season For Planning And Maintenance
Winter is the 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, such as making beeswax candles and polish.
So now that we've answered "when is bee season?" we hope you're ready to keep learning about bees and keeping hives for yourself. Beekeeping is an enriching and rewarding occupation. It also helps to maintain bee populations during a time when they are becoming more endangered with each passing year. Before starting a beehive, it’s important to have all necessary information, from local ordinances to what equipment you will need, when is bee season and where you can go for more information.