colony of bees

What Season Is Best to Start a Bee Hive?

Starting a honey-making business can be difficult, especially since you would usually need to build and maintain a beehive. While taking care of a beehive can often be difficult, most beekeepers would say that the hard work and dedication put into there is truly worth it, as the honey that they produce from the beehive is a hit among those who want to keep the product in their pantry or to pair it with a variety of foods, including cheese and bread.

Building a beehive from scratch is also pretty tricky, as you would have to follow the life cycle of bees and know when they will start harvesting pollen from flowers. To learn more about the right time of the year to start your honey-making business, here is a guide to the best season to start a beehive, as well as some tips on what bees do during each season.

Spring

The spring season is arguably the best period of the year to start a beehive, as it allows the bees one full season to build or upgrade their beehive before they start harvesting for pollen and nectar in the summer. During this season, you must be able to provide your bees with ample food supply, as they still have no means to produce food on their own. One of the most popular foods given to bees during this process is sugar syrup.

Of course, the beehives need to be surrounded by flowers that typically attract bees, such as dandelions, goldenrods, and milkweeds. So, even before you begin to build a beehive, you must first need to plant the seeds of several species of flowering plants that are compatible with your area’s climate, temperature, and weather conditions and let them bloom.

As the days get closer to summertime, the queen bee in the beehive will start to produce more eggs, thus allowing the birth of more female workers bees (the ones that collect nectar or pollen) and male drones (the ones that mate with an unfertilized queen). By the end of spring, there will be a sufficient population of bees in the beehive that will work in the summer.

beekeeper carrying a hive

Summer

The summer season, especially in the days of June and July, will be the busiest season for the worker bees, which will always be gathering pollen and nectar all day. The male drones will be fatter during the summer, but by the end of the season, their population will start to lessen as their purpose for mating with the queen bee would become irrelevant or unnecessary to the bees’ life cycle during the fall.

By August, the worker bees will begin driving the drones away from the hive, as the males have already served their purpose. However, drones would begin to appear again in the hive during next year’s spring season. As the amount of honey in the hive begin to build up during the early days of summer, most professional beekeepers would tell you that the best time to harvest honey is during this season.

Fall

By the start of fall, you might have already harvested most of the honey that is in the hive, but you must remember to keep at least 60 to 70 pounds of honey in the hive in order for them to still have sufficient food supply throughout the season. As opposed to summertime, the bees during fall perform little to no movements, as worker bees would huddle around or near the queen bee to keep her under the right temperature as the environment gets colder and colder. This process is usually called “hibernation.”

During hibernation, the bees will have no way of protecting themselves against predators or hive invaders, so it is up to the beekeeper to provide security for the hive by applying mouse traps and other protective devices near the hive. In addition, the beekeeper must also supply the hive with sugar syrup in case the food supply runs low.

collected honey from beehives

Winter

The winter season will be the toughest period for the bees, as they will need to huddle or cluster together more closely to ensure that the temperature of the queen bee, as well as all bees in the hive, are high enough for them survive the season.

In this season, all the drones that were in the hive from spring to summer would have all been forced out of the hive, leaving only the worker bees and the queen bee inside. However, despite being low in population, the bees would eat 50 pounds of honey throughout the winter, so it is best for you to supply them with more sugar syrup. Furthermore, you must also make sure that snow or ice wouldn’t be above or inside the hive, as these could damage the hive or lower the temperature inside.

By the end of the spring, the bees would still not get out of the hive since they still don’t have the energy to move, and the flowers are still yet to bloom. However, after three weeks or one month into spring, the worker bees will start to move, the queen bee will lay more eggs to produce drones and worker bees, and the life cycle of the bees repeats for another year.