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The Beekeeping Season over view.

The Beekeeping season starts in Autumn which is the time of writing. 

 

The old adage is to take your Winter losses in Autumn. Which means if you have colonies that are unlikely to make it through the cold months its best to unite them to a middling unit or a strong one. There is not much point in uniting three small lots together they are most likely going to be too weak, its far better to add your weak ones to strong ones to boost them further, and in turn take from that colony a nuc or two in Spring to make up your numbers. 

Bees need feeding for winter, and I am talking in general  as some leave honey on and look smug about not feeding. 

The syrup being fed in September and October should be a mix of 2:1 sugar to water, that is two of sugar to one of water. As the temperatures drop and the syrup is ignored and the hives are possibly too light, and a colony needs a good 40 lbs of stores to survive then feeding fondant should be considered. 

I put mine on in January after I treat with oxalic Acid for Varroa. I put on ehough so that I am not messing the bees about every week, so my chunks are 4 kilos or so and that is enough for them for three weeks to a month I find in my poly hives. 

In Spring I take off the fondant and turn it into light syrup to give the bees another stimulous, this time to rear brood which commences as the daylight lengthens, roughly about late Feb to early March, and the new  year is up and running. 

When the early flows are detected supers are added over queen exculders, and honey storage commences, always a happy sight for the Beeperson. 

As the units strengthen swarm preparations are watched for and if needed artificial swarming is practised. Note you will need extra equipment for this and there is on the site a beginners list of essentials. 

As the supers pile up extraction is the next task, and as many never have enough supers it may happen more often than wanted, as the mess can be “interesting” and kitchens are much bigger and more difficult to clean than it seemed the day before…. be warned. 

As the sun swings up and over, and begines to head down again the frenzy to collect honey drifts away, the drones are evicted again, and with a sigh the beekeeper heads for the shops for yet more sugar to start all over again. 

The saddest sight of the year are the hives with no supers on.  The study time has returned. 

PH

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