Per Month Beekeeping Tasks + Tips
the experts at tony lalonde sales have put together a detailed month to month
summary of beekeeping tasks*
* Location Disclaimer
This timeline will provide an approximate schedule for beekeeping in the Saskatoon area, and can likely be considered roughly accurate for an area along Highway 16 from Edmonton, AB to Gladstone, MB.
For locations approximately 100-200km north of this, you can probably add about 5-10 days to the spring work and reduce fall work by 5-10 days, depending on the season. For areas 200-300km south, you may be able to begin spring work 5-10 days earlier, and add 5-10 days to fall work.
When references are made to supering, it is assumed that a full-size super of 9 5/8” is being used. If you choose to use a 5 5/8”, 6 5/8” or 7 5/8” super that is not a problem but account for the total height of the super being added to the hive.
Continue to enjoy the winter. Take a trip down south, maybe look into one of the US conventions. There are always new ideas coming up in beekeeping – now is the time to do your research and see if you can incorporate new ideas into your operation.
Start considering your plans for the upcoming year. It is too early to start working bees, but think about if you want to expand, and if so, what kind of equipment you will need.
- Equipment Ordering
Since about 2014 there has been at least 1 very nice week of weather in March. You know that week when you walk outside after winter wearing a t-shirt and comment about how warm it is? This is the time to start thinking about working your bees.
- Mite Testing
Hope for a warm spring with early rains to get Dandelions and Caraganas thinking about blooming. If you have treated mites with a ‘hard’ miticide, consider unwrapping the hives, moving the miticide, and re-wrapping the hives, especially after 3-4 weeks from initial installation. This will allow you to ‘chase’ the brood through the hives and give you a better mite-kill.
- Weather Watch
Ensure you have: supers, antibiotics if needed, mated queens on order if making nucs, access to feed and feeding equipment.
This is when the work begins!
- Post Mortem of Beehives
- Making Nucs
June is your last month to ‘catch-up’. Beekeeping requirements are usually somewhat reduced during June – keep up with supering ahead of the bee population to help reduce the chance of swarming or to keep up with the honey flow, and ensure your bees have food.
- Mixing Foundation
Ensure you have: Sufficient honey supers, equipment for extracting (uncapping equipment, extracting equipment, pumps and settling tanks if needed), refractometer, containers/jars and/or barrels.
- Supering Continued
- First Honey Pull
Ensure you have: even more containers for honey; feeding equipment; mite testing supplies, mite treatments if required, antibiotics as required.
- Honey Flow
- Maintaining Supers
Ensure you have: access to feeding equipment; access to feed; miticides as needed; wintering equipment on order.
- Feeding Hives
- Mite Checks
Ensure you have: Winter wraps. Miticide treatment if needed (oxalic acid + vaporizer)
It’s probably been a long season, take 3 weeks off and forget about the bees! Consider attending the SBDC Convention and AGM.
- Additional Insulation
- Season Reflection
Forget about your bees. If you forgot something, there is nothing you can do for them now. Sell the honey you worked so hard to produce. Go snowmobiling. Go cross-country skiing. Take your kids to hockey. Read a book in front of the fire.
Wait until March to start working your bees.
- Time off with family!