Beekeeping isn’t rocket science, but an awful lot of beekeepers lose all or most of their bees every year. You could read volumes about how to be a beekeeper, but if you commit to follow just a few suggestions you will increase your chances of success a great deal:
- Do your weekly inspections – never let more than 2 weeks pass without one – make sure they stay queenright! If this is the only thing you do it will increase your chances tremendously.
- Keep them fed – but don’t overfeed and make them swarm.
- Get at least one nucleus hive and split your hives when they have at least 2 boxes full of bees and drawn comb. I reccomend that you put robber screens on your nucs – or all hives for that matter if you have several hives of different sizes.
- Treat them for mites (I reccomend Apiguard organic treatment for this one) sometime between July 15 – August 15. Finishing treatments by August 15.
- In mid-late September begin fast feeding heavy syrup until your hives have plenty of it stored for winter.
- Treat again any time in December using a treatment which is appropriate for the temps at that time – MAQS, Apivar, Oxalic acid.
- Don’t let them starve over winter – Properly applied Mt Camp sugar as insurance almost guarantees that your bees won’t starve to death during winter.
Do these things and you probably won’t be buying more bees next spring. For more details check out the Beekeeping Calendar. and the Beekeeping Schedule by Blooms.