4 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR SPRING BEEKEEPING

Posted December 11, 2016
by Hilary

4 ways to prepare for spring beekeeping

Every year, long before spring beekeeping starts, I get a few emails from eager new beekeepers, asking where they can get bees to fill their new hive boxes. The short answer is, nowhere! If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, bees are not readily available until April. Waiting for spring is hard, but there’s plenty you can do in preparation for spring beekeeping and the arrival of bees.

1. Research! 

I know I am a broken record on this point, but seriously, use this time to learn as much as you can about bees and beekeeping! You want to be able to hit the ground running with your new bees in the spring. You don’t want to be scrambling to figure out what you are doing.

Classes

If you like my teaching style, check out my selection of on-demand online classes, including this  Online Intro to Beekeeping class. It’s like having me sit in your living room for 2.5 hours explaining everything you need to know.

Books

After you have a grasp on beekeeping, delve into honey bee biology books, too. Getting to know bees and their behaviors will build your beekeeping sense and intution. I keep a list of my favorite books in The Beekeeper’s Library on my Amazon storefront.

Securing Bees

You should also figure out where you want to buy your bees from. Many apiaries start selling new colonies in January, even though they will not be available for several months. Make sure your reserve yours early.

4 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR SPRING BEEKEEPING

2. Plant Bee Food!

Start a pollinator garden, plant some flowering bee trees and try to talk your neighbors into it, too. The more flowers your bees have, the better they will do and the better your chance of a honey yield. Plus, if you grow native plants, you will also be creating valuable habitat for our native bee species.

If you need some inspiration, check out some of my favorite books and garden things For Bee Gardeners on Amazon.

4 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR SPRING BEEKEEPING

3. Build Your Equipment!

If your beehive is sitting unassembled in your garage, build it! Then keep going:

  • Paint it.
  • Make sure you have a stand with legs if ants are a problem in your area.
  • It’s a good idea to have extra supers ready to go. Sometimes bees build out really quickly in the spring. If you don’t have boxes ready to go, you could miss your chance to fill them with honey or even worse, the bees may become too crowded and swarm!
  • Don’t forget about getting your frames ready, too, whether you install foundation, foundation-less comb guides or wire.

4 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR SPRING BEEKEEPING

4. Start a Project!

There are plenty of bee-related projects you can start during the off-season.

  • If you’re handy, you can build your own solar wax melter.
  • You could try your hand at making candles, soap or lip balm with the wax you harvested from previous years.
  • Maybe you’d like to create a fun honey label for your spring harvest.
  • You could even start experimenting with making mead!

3 Comments

  1. Susan Rudnicki

    For any newbees reading, I want to strongly second Hilary’s urging to get thoroughly educated by reading! I have asked my students to read this one which I found just fascinating—on the biology of bees —Jurgen Tautz “The Buzz About Bees: Biology of a Superorganism”
    http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783540787273

    By studying the underlying social structure of these complex insects we can much better tend to their needs and growth through the year. One thing, however, about the sourcing of bees and availability— if you are being mentored by people who take feral (wild) bees in the urban environment, either with swarms or via cutouts (removal of a hive colony from a structure) you may find bees at any time of the year in Southern California. I have hived big swarms in December, and removed a water meter colony with a student just yesterday. If you are buying breeder bees (packages) those are on a more restricted mailing schedule.

    Reply
  2. Bruce Rodriguez

    Great post as usual but there are 2 typos (hot, built) and 1 missing word (be). Hope you don’t mind me pointing it out for ya. Loved your interview on Kiwimana!

    Reply
    • Hilary

      Thanks!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

My name is Hilary Kearney. I’m the author of the book, “Queenspotting” and founder of the urban beekeeping business Girl Next Door Honey in San Diego, California. I’m an artist turned beekeeper on a mission to help new beekeepers succeed and educate the public about the magic of bees!

Follow Me

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Buy My Book: Queenspotting

Now Streaming Online!

Online Intro to Beekeeping Class! Now streaming! Great for beginners or intermediate level beekeepers.

Top Posts

QUEENSPOTTING: HOW TO FIND YOUR QUEEN BEE
HOW TO KEEP A NEWLY CAUGHT SWARM FROM LEAVING
IS THE FLOWHIVE BAD FOR BEES?
HOW TO REQUEEN AFRICANIZED BEES

Shop: Educational Game for kids!

Shop: Educational Game for kids!

You’re Sweet

Your donations help keep this blog going! Thank you!