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.

Jump to Month:    Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | July | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec

January

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.

Key Topics:

  • Planning
  • Research

February

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. 

Key Topics:

  • Equipment Ordering
  • Expansion

March

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.

Key Topics:

  • Mite Testing
  • Evaluation

April

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.

Key Topics:

  • Weather Watch
  • Miticides/Strips

May

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!

Key Topics:

  • Unwrapping
  • Post Mortem of Beehives
  • Making Nucs

June

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.

Key Topics:

  • Supering
  • Mixing Foundation

July

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.

Key Topics:

  • Supering Continued
  • First Honey Pull
  • Uncapping

August

Ensure you have: even more containers for honey; feeding equipment; mite testing supplies, mite treatments if required, antibiotics as required.

Key Topics:

  • Honey Flow
  • Maintaining Supers

September

Ensure you have: access to feeding equipment; access to feed; miticides as needed; wintering equipment on order.

Key Topics:

  • Feeding Hives
  • Mite Checks

October

Ensure you have: Winter wraps.  Miticide treatment if needed (oxalic acid + vaporizer)

Key Topics:

November

It’s probably been a long season, take 3 weeks off and forget about the bees! Consider attending the SBDC Convention and AGM.

Key Topics:

  • Additional Insulation
  • Season Reflection

December

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.

Key Topics:

  • Christmas
  • Time off with family!

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