A Texan’s Guide to the Beekeeper’s Year

As a beekeeper you’ve got to keep your eye on the seasons, the weather, bee behavior, and the bees activities. This is meant to be a guide and should not be used as a substitute for watching and learning from your bees. Basically, being a good beekeeper means assisting when the bees need you, and leaving them alone when they don’t. So, remember, only inspect your hives when you are looking for something.

We’ve made a simple visual guide for our Texas beekeeping friends to help remember what to do at different times of the year – basically, your best bet as a beginner beekeeper is to learn about the bees and what they’re doing so that you can stay out of the way when needed and help, when needed.

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Late Winter / Spring / Summer beekeeping goes a little something like this.

  • January –
    • Prep for new year
    • Check hives for Food & brood if temps are above 60 degrees
    • Reverse Brood Boxes
    • Oxalic acid treatments
  • February –
    • Check hives for Food & brood if temps are above 60 degrees
    • Reverse Brood Boxes
    • Remove Entrance reducers on strong hives
  • March –
    • Check hives for Food & brood if temps are above 60 degrees
    • Remove screened bottom board inserts and entrance reducers
    • Full  Hive Inspections
    • Splits
  • April –
    • Remove screened bottom board inserts and entrance reducers
    • Full  Hive Inspections
    • Splits
    • Watch for swarm cells
    • Be ready to add more space

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Heading into Summer – leaves you with the following beekeeping activities.

  • May
    • Full hive inspections
    • Splits
    • Watch for Swarm Cells
    • Be ready to add more space & supers
    • Water source
    • Extract honey from full, capped supers – put back
  • June
    • Watch for Swarm Cells
    • Be ready to add more space & Supers
    • Water source
    • Extract honey from full, capped supers – Let them clean cappings
  • July
    • Water source
    • Extract honey from full, capped supers – let them clean cappings
    • Begin reducing hive space to what they’re using
    • Watch for food shortages in summer dearth
  • August
    • Water source
    • Begin reducing hive space
    • Mite count (Apivar Type treatments)
    • Fall Requeening if desired
    • Watch for food shortages in summer dearth

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Lastly, preparing for the end of the year and winter time includes a different set of beekeeping activities in Texas.

  • September
    • Water source
    • Begin reducing hive space
    • Mite count (Apivar type treatments)
    • Fall Requeening if desired
    • Watch for food shortages in summer dearth
    • Begin looking for weak hives to combine
  • October
    • Combine weak hives
    • Switch back to solid inner covers / bottom boards
    • Make sure each hive box has at least 2 solid frames of honey
    • Reduce hive space to what they’re using
  • November
    • Combine weak hives
    • Switch back to solid inner covers / bottom boards
    • Make sure each hive box has at least 2 solid frames of honey
    • Reduce space
    • Oxalic Acid Treatments
  • December
    • No hive inspections
    • Oxalic acid treatments
    • Order & repair equipment
    • Check wax / comb storage for damage
    • Order bees / Queens

Here’s a pdf of our Beekeeper Year for easy download and storage.

2 Comments

  1. Greetings!!! I live in San Antonio and am interested in bee keeping. Not for profit or honey. But because I have seen honey bees in my yard and I want to make a home for them. Maybe they will then pollinate my orange and peach trees for me. My problem is that there are wasps also and although non-aggressive enough that I haven’t bothered with them, they are now taking over my bee hotel and taking so much of everything that they are crowding out the honey bees Im trying to attract. Do you know if there is something I can use that will either kill or drive away the wasps and not hurt or harm the bees???!!!! Id really like to know. Thanks!!

    1. Carol, I’m so sorry for the delayed response – I didn’t have my alerts set up for comments (fixed that!)

      We have found that it’s impossible to get rid of all the wasps/yellow jackets, but there are some traps if you feel they are beyond an “acceptable” level. The traps usually include beer or something more bitter to keep the bees so from being attracted to them.

      Some native bees also look very similar to wasps, so maybe double check that as well. Are you keeping actual hives in your yard Or just the bee hotel?

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