This page is to give the beekeeper a month by month list of tasks that should be performed. The information being offered is in reflection of Tennessee weather conditions. You may have to adjust it for your Agricultural Zone. Please select the Quarter of the year you wish to view by clicking on the appropriate one below.
The colonies that are strong should have 60,000 to 80,000 bees. They will eat up considerable amounts of honey using all their reserves and can easily starve prior to the honey flow.
Feed all colonies that have less than 15 lbs. of honey. Be sure and check for diseases and mites at this time.
April is a good month to install package bees. New foundation helps to get package bees off to a good start. Feed all new packages Tea Tree Oil for Nosema (see Natural Treatments page) . When installing a package of bees, make sure the cortex board is in place under the screen bottom board. Remove it every week and clean off all the bits of wax because wax moths will get in and lay their eggs in it.
The bees like to draw out the foundation in total darkness. If you have drawn comb, add 2 or 3 frames along with 2 frames of brood from one of your strong hives. This will give your new package a boost.
During the honey flow, add new foundation for drawing comb in the upper body placed right over the brood chamber. Prolific queens and ample food will create strong colonies. Adding a super of drawn comb will help relieve crowding. This will insure a good honey crop.
Supers for honey storage should be added by April 15th.
Supers with cut comb foundation should be prepared just before using so that they will not sag.
Entrance reducers should be removed from strong overwintered colonies by the 15th of April.
Entrance reducers should be removed from colonies installed in April by the 15th of June.
When a super becomes 1/2 to 3/4 full of honey, it’s time to add another super. This is usually about 6 – 7 frames. This can be done by removing the partially filled super off the hive and placing the empty super of drawn comb on top of the brood chamber. Then, replace the partially filled super on top of the empty super.
If you can extract the honey from a super as it becomes capped, it will do two things. It will give the bees a place to put more honey. Taking one super off at a time and extracting it will give the honey a very distinct taste and not that of a blend. It also frees up the need to purchase additional supers.
Be sure and keep empty supers on all the colonies until after the honey flow.
All swarms occurring after June 1st should be combined with weaker colonies. Continue to check for swarm cells every 7 days.
Adding supers of drawn comb should be added as needed until after the honey flow.
Uncapped honey can be extracted by pulling the frame straight up out of the hive and rotating the bottom bar away from you until it is about 3/4 away from being vertical. Give it a hard downward shake. If nothing comes out of the cells, the honey can be extracted without the fear of fermenting.