A Beekeeper's Year

By Heidi Rupke | April 18, 2017
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In addition to regular maintenance tasks, beekeeping follows a seasonal rhythm much like farming or ranching.

Spring:

 “Madness in the Bee Yard”

•         Split large hives into new, smaller ones (This involves breeding a new queen for each.)

•         Build up hives for honey production

•         If necessary, feed colonies additional honey before their production ramps up

 

Summer:

•         Put honey supers (trays made of food-grade plastic, with small hexagonal imprints) on hives

•         Begin pulling honey

•         Watch for swarms (colonies that have grown too large to be organized by the pheromones of a single queen)

•         Possibly begin new colonies

 

Fall:

•         Finish honey production

•         Begin to bed bees down for winter

•         Cull equipment that is too worn


Resources

George and Willie recommend doing your homework before trying to raise your own honey. But with education, a bit of backyard space, and some dedicated time — one hour per week is the absolute minimum — they say that even city folks can raise a successful crop. Here are a few resources for getting started:

•         Beekeeping in Tennessee: A comprehensive booklet and PDF published by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture

•         YouTube videos by “The Fat Bee Man”

•         University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture basic and master beekeeping courses

•         Memphis Area Beekeeper’s Association meets every second Monday of the month at 7 pm at the Agricenter, Concourse C. www.memphisbeekeepers.com

•         Call a practicing beekeeper. George and Willie are happy to answer questions. 

Article from Edible Memphis at http://ediblememphis.ediblecommunities.com/eat/beekeepers-year
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