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    [needs proofreading/checking]

    The Beekeeping Year
    An overview of the individual tasks

    What are the tasks to be done and how much time do they involve?

    The bees overwinter in the front part (the brood chamber) of the hive. The rear compartment (the honey chamber) is partially closed off by the divider board. In winter almost no work with the bees needs to be done (or is even possible). The colony is left to take care of itself and relies on the honey it has stored. Between November and April (in climates with cooler wintertime temperatures, such as central and northern Europe) we can almost "forget" that we are even keeping bees. Winter is a good time to get the top bars and foundation for the honey chamber ready (ca. 1 hr. work); using the beeswax remaining from the previous honey harvest, we can also produce candles.

    About the time the fruit trees start coming into bloom (mid- to late April in Germany) we carry out a spring inspection and look to see how well the bees have overwintered (see Spring Inspection); at the same time the divider board is removed and 12 top bars with wax foundation are added to the honey chamber. This requires opening the hive once (0.5 hrs.)
    Detailed instructions...

    The swarm season (May and June)
    The months of May and June comprise the so-called "swarm season" (in northern/central Europe). Strong colonies take advantage of the over-abundance of nectar and pollen at this time to divide into two colonies. Roughly half of the population, including the queen, depart from the hive and immediately regroup as a swarm cluster on a nearby tree branch.

    The remaining bees in the hive raise a new queen and thus rejuvenate themselves in this way. If we catch the departed swarm then we will have another colony of bees and can populate an additional hive. (Since it does sometimes happen that a colony doesn't survive the winter, it is not a bad idea to keep at least two colonies of bees.) If we can't use the swarm ourselves, there are other beekeepers, Bienenkiste and otherwise, who will be grateful for the bees.

    Plan for a half hour or so of work per week during the swarm season (2 hrs./month), plus another 2-3 hrs. for dealing with a swarm, should one occur.
    Detailed instructions...

    Honey harvest
    Depending on the honey flow (the seasonal availability of various nectar sources) we harvest our honey sometime in June or July. The evening before the harvest we use a sharp knife to pre-segment the combs at the (one-third) point where they pass from the honey compartment into the brood chamber of the hive. The following morning we carefully lift up and remove the top bars with the attached combs full of honey.

    The honey comb is then sliced off the top bar, cut into small pieces, and placed in a strainer or filter. The honey drips through and the beeswax remains behind. (Time: 2-3 hrs. plus the time for preparing and filling jars and/or stirring (to make creamed honey).
    Detailed instructions...

    Summertime varroa diagnosis and treatment
    We use the powdered sugar test to check the level of varroa mite infestation, and if necessary treat the bees using the formic acid vapor treatment. The dispenser containing the prescribed amount of formic acid is placed on the floor of the now empty honey compartment for several days; after treatment the divider board is replaced. (1-3 hrs.)
    Varroa diagnosis with the powdered sugar test...
    Treating with formic acid vapor...

    Preparation for winter
    September: We estimate the level of the bees' winter (honey) reserves, supplementing this as necessary by feeding with sugar syrup.
    Instructions for feeding...
    Once it has become cold enough that the bees are no longer regularly flying, we place a wire-mesh mouse guard over the hive entrance, which keeps opportunistic mice out of the hive.
    Instructions for adding a mouse guard...
    (0.5 to 2 hrs. work, depending on feeding)

    Winter treatment with oxalic acid
    Second varroa treatment: Near the end of November we open the hive one last time in the year and dribble a dilute sugar and oxalic acid solution in between the combs. (0.5 hrs.)
    Detailed instructions...

    [Hinweis: KMP hat den Beitrag zuletzt am vor 6 Jahren, 8 Monaten geändert.]
      Kevin M. Pfeiffer - Berlin (Mitglied, Imkerverein Kreuzberg e.V.) - Imkerbuch - Stockwaage - Visitenkarte