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Beekeeping Calendar
Bee activities are seasonal - so are the beekeeper's activities looking after the bees.

The following calendar is a guideline for the major beekeeping activities throughout the year, valid for climate zones comparable with Melbourne, Australia - in the southern hemisphere.

The overwriting rule though remains valid:

How often should you open the hive?

Only when necessary!
Month
Major Bee activities
Major Beekeeper activities
Comments
Jun
Time of shortest day light of the year. Queen's egg production at minimum; maintaining small brood nest; maintaining small bee numbers.
Check hives only from outside, keep entrance clear of grass, weeds and other obstacles.
Time to renew your beekeeper registration.
Prepare boxes, frames and equipment for next season.
Don't open the hive for inspection of frames during winter.
Jul
As days are starting to get longer Queen's egg production is slowly starting to increase, brood nest starting to grow, resulting in growing colony - in preparation for spring.
Check hives only from outside, keep entrance clear of grass, weeds and other obstacles.
Prepare boxes, frames and equipment for next season.
Don't open the hive for inspection of frames during winter.
Aug
As days are getting longer Queen's egg production is slowly increasing, brood nest growing, resulting in growing colony - in preparation for spring.
Bees might start raising queen cells in preparation for swarming.
Check hives only from outside, keep entrance clear of grass, weeds and other obstacles.
Prepare boxes, frames and equipment for next season.
When weather permits, inspect hives for queen cells to prevent swarming.
Don't open the hive for inspection of frames during cold weather.
Sep
As days are getting longer Queen's egg production increases; brood nest is growing further, resulting in growing bee numbers.
Likelihood of bees raising queen cells in preparation for swarming increases.
When weather permits, inspect hives in 9-14 day intervals for queen cells and prevent swarming.

First chance to buy a queen to requeen your colony.
More bee activity at the entrance on warm days indicate growing colony.
Warmer weather and increase in nectar and pollen trigger swarm instinct.
Queens are available from queen breeders from September until end of February.
Oct
As days are getting longer Queen's egg production increases; brood nest is growing further, resulting in growing bee numbers.
Likelihood of bees raising queen cells in preparation for swarming is at its peak.
When weather permits, inspect hives in 9-14 day intervals for queen cells and prevent swarming.
Only when necessary stack a super on, providing bees with space to build combs and store.
Warm weather and abundance of nectar and pollen are good conditions for raising new colonies.
Increasing number of drones at the hive entrance is a good indicator for swarm preparations.
Nov
With days of long daylight Queen's egg production at peak; brood nest growing further, resulting in growing bee numbers.
Likelihood of bees raising queen cells in preparation for swarming is at its peak, if they have not swarmed already.
When weather permits, inspect hives in 9-14 day intervals for queen cells and prevent swarming.
Only when necessary stack a super on, providing bees with space to build combs and store.
Collect honey surplus if available.
Warm weather and abundance of nectar and pollen are good conditions for raising new colonies.
Dec
With days of long daylight Queen's egg production at peak; maintaining large brood nest, resulting in growing bee numbers.
Likelihood of bees raising queen cells in preparation for swarming decreases.
When weather permits, inspect hives in 3-6 week intervals.
Only when necessary stack a super on, providing bees with space to build combs and store.
Collect honey surplus if available.
Warm weather and abundance of nectar and pollen are good conditions for raising new colonies.
Jan
With days of long daylight Queen's egg production at peak; maintaining large brood nest, resulting in growing bee numbers.
Likelihood of bees raising queen cells in preparation for swarming decreases further.
When weather permits, inspect hives in 3-6 week intervals.
Only when necessary stack a super on, providing bees with space to build combs and store.
Collect honey surplus if available.
Queens are available from queen breeders from September until end of February.
Feb
With days becoming shorter Queen's egg production is decreasing; still maintaining large brood nest, still growing bee numbers.
Likelihood of bees raising queen cells in preparation for swarming decreases further.
When weather permits, inspect hives in 3-6 week intervals.
Only when necessary stack a super on, providing bees with space to build combs and store.
Collect honey surplus if available.
Last chance to buy a queen to requeen your colony.

Queens are available from queen breeders from September until end of February.
Mar
With days becoming shorter Queen's egg production reduces; reducing brood nest, replenishing bee numbers.

Worker bees start forcing almost all drones out of the hive.
Last thorough inspection of hives for health issues. Only when necessary stack a super on, providing bees with space to build combs and store.
Collect honey surplus if available.
Start hive close down for winter; compact bees into one or two boxes with sufficient winter stores.
Feed colonies with insufficient winter stores with sugar syrup.
Occasionally tiny swarms still occur - they have very little chance to survive without assistance.
March can be a bit tricky - autumn crops like Greybox Eucalypts can be in full blossom and bees are producing great honey, sometimes until May/June.
Harvest or hive close down? - it depends on the weather conditions.
Apr
With days becoming shorter Queen's egg production reduces further; reducing brood nest, reducing bee numbers.

Worker bees force almost all drones out of the hive.
Collect honey surplus if available.
Complete hive close down for winter; compact bees into one or two boxes with sufficient winter stores.
Feed colonies with insufficient winter stores with sugar syrup.
When feeding of sugar syrup is required, it has to be done as long as the bees are active.
Once day temperatures stay below 13°C it gets too cold for the bees to be active - they would not be able to process the sugar syrup, i.e. store it into comb cells and evaporate the water content.
May
With days becoming shorter Queen's egg production reaches minimum; maintaining small brood nest, maintaining small bee numbers.
Check hives only from outside, keep entrance clear of grass, weeds and other obstacles.
Prepare boxes, frames and equipment for next season.
Don't open the hive for inspection of frames during cold weather.
last update 3-Aug-2017
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