The Beekeeper’s Checklist

A list of suggested beekeeping activities throughout the year

The dates are approximate and will vary year to year. Colonies can be opened at temperatures above 10°C and frames can be removed at temperatures above 15° C.

For more information about pest and disease control see:

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/food/inspection/bees/2017-treatment.htm

Mid April

  • check for colony mortality and remove dead hives from the apiary
  • AFB preventative treatment

Late April

  • unwrap hives
  • test colony weight by tipping hive or inspecting frames
  • feed sugar syrup if necessary
  • AFB preventative treatment
  • monitor for varroa mite levels, treat if necessary

Early May

  • brood chamber inspection
  • swarm prevention – add 1 or 2 honey supers per hive above the queen excluder when the brood chamber is close to being full of bees
  • remove entrance reducers when dandelions come into bloom

Late May

  • brood chamber inspection
  • swarm control where necessary – remove all swarm cells if queen is still laying
  • add honey supers as necessary
  • split hives for swarm prevention and to increase colony count (introduce a locally produced queen cell to the new queenless colony)
  • install nucleus colonies or splits into new hives and feed sugar syrup to aid comb building on new frames

Early June

  • split hives for swarm prevention and to increase colony count (introduce a mated Ontario queen or queen cell to the new queenless colony)
  • swarm control if necessary

Late June

  • add honey supers as necessary
  • requeen colonies as necessary with mated queens produced in Ontario (requeening is possible from June to early September)

Early July

  • add honey supers as necessary with the goal of all supers being full at the desired harvest time in late July/early August

Late July/Early August

  • harvest summer honey and add a super with empty comb to each colony for later nectar flows, package honey in containers
  • brood chamber inspection

August

  • super as necessary for August and early September nectar flows
  • monitor for varroa mite levels and treat if necessary

Mid September

  • harvest fall honey, package honey in containers
  • brood chamber inspection
  • feed sugar syrup – 4 gallons of 2:1 syrup per hive
  • medicate for AFB prevention
  • varroa mite control

Early November

  • remove mite control products
  • prepare colonies for winter- wrap, insulate, install entrance reducers, provide upper entrance
  • render beeswax

Winter

  • buy and assemble bee equipment
  • order supplies
  • order nucs, queens for next season
  • education – beekeeper association meetings, reading, watch our HBRC ‘how to videos’, register for quality beekeeping courses

View a copy of ‘The Beekeeper’s Checklist’ : Beekeepers-Checklist