Becoming a beekeeper is an important and rewarding experience as you take on the responsibility of caring for a colony of bees. Although it can be challenging at times, you’ll also enjoy delicious fresh honey and other bee products. While the benefits of keeping bees are exciting, you must also know some common practices to maintain your beehives. Follow along to add a few pieces of knowledge to your beekeeping arsenal.
Replace or Repair Damaged Hive Parts
As with pretty much everything else, beehive structures don’t last forever. Extreme weather conditions are one of the top causes of damage to apiaries, and you shouldn’t think twice about repairing your beehive as soon as you notice something is wearing out. Repairing or replacing damaged hive parts is the best way to ensure your colony’s safety and keep other insects and animals out of their home.
Provide Shade and Ventilation
Because weather conditions like rain, wind, excessive sun exposure, and more can cause damage to your beehive, you should consider adding a structure over your apiary to shield the hive from rainwater and provide shade from blistering sunlight. Additionally, you should create ventilation holes to ensure air can circulate throughout the colony; otherwise, water may accumulate inside and cause issues for your bees.
Your hive will need different support depending on the season. For instance, you should remove snow and properly cover the hive in the winter to prevent heat loss, and it may need extra shade during the summer months.
Requeen When Necessary
Requeening your hive isn’t as difficult as it sounds, but it’s crucial to maintain a strong colony. If your queen dies or departs from the colony during a swarm, you may need to provide another one to your worker bees. There are a few different ways to do so, and you could benefit from remembering a few things beekeepers should know about requeening. You may need to requeen every few years, but you should only do this when necessary.
Conduct Regular Inspections
Regular hive inspections are vital to maintaining healthy colonies. Whether or not you suspect a mite infestation or another issue, you should open the hive to ensure everything is running smoothly. If you notice an excessive amount of varroa mites or other pests, consider treatment as soon as possible to prevent the worst outcome.
After learning a few common practices to maintain your beehives, you’ll become a successful beekeeper in no time. Whether you’re in your first year of beekeeping or thinking of starting soon, it can’t hurt to learn as much as possible early in your journey.