What does a Beekeeper do?
Beekeeping has been practised for thousands of years and is an important part of many cultures. A beekeeper is responsible for the care and management of bees and their hives. This includes tasks such as inspecting the hives for signs of disease, ensuring that the bees have enough food and water, and removing honey from the hives. Beekeepers also need to be able to identify different types of bees and understand their behaviour.
Beekeeping can be a rewarding hobby or a profitable business. It provides an opportunity to help the environment and produce delicious honey.
When the weather starts to cool down and the flowers die off, beekeepers have to start thinking about how to keep their bees alive through the winter. Some beekeepers will feed their bees, sugar, water or honey to help them survive the winter months. Others will wrap their hives in blankets to keep them warm. Some beekeepers will even move their hives to a warmer climate for the winter.
No matter what a beekeeper does to prepare for the winter, the most important thing is to make sure their bees have enough food to last them until spring.
A beekeeper’s work is ongoing throughout the year. They must constantly monitor their hives to ensure the bees are healthy and spot any potential problems.
During the spring and summer, the beekeeper will need to collect honey and pollen from the hives. This is done by opening the hive and using a special tool to remove the honeycomb. The honey and pollen are then harvested and the hive is closed back up. In the fall and winter, the beekeeper will need to feed the bees and make sure they have enough water. They will also need to check the hives for any signs of damage and repair them if necessary.
In the summer, beekeepers work to ensure that their bees are healthy and producing enough honey. This involves regularly checking the hives, and providing the bees with food and water. Beekeepers also need to monitor for pests and diseases and take steps to control them.
The swarming season will be over by early July, which means that the colony can focus on collecting nectar. The honey for harvesting and the queen excluder should be taken off in early August, which will allow the bees to collect what little remains for themselves and start treating your colonies for varroa. In early August, insert an Entrance block to reduce entrances so the diminishing colony can defend against wasps.
The bees are especially active during this time of year, so beekeepers take extra precautions to protect themselves and keep the bees away as much as possible. They wear special clothing and use a smoker to keep the bees at bay.
September is the time to feed the colony for the winter, replacing the honey that was taken. The colony will need at least 15kg of syrup to make it through the cold months ahead. Feeding needs to be completed before the end of the month, allowing the colony to process the excess water. Fit a mouse guard to the entrance.
With all the required syrup now in the brood chamber, all should be well for winter. Strap and or weigh down the roof against winter wind. Monitor the now small entrance regularly for the build-up of dead bees. Bees are dying all the time and just a few can block the entrance leaving the others unable to get out. Keep a regular check for Woodpecker damage or rain getting in. What is your favourite season of the year? Have you seen what a beekeeper’s suit looks like? Check out our 8 Things to Know About & Beekeeper Suits to learn more.