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What Do Beekeepers Do in Summer

Updated on September 3, 2018
m-a-w-g profile image

Chris has been a beekeeper quickly approaching 10 years. He enjoys learning about bees from others and a good conversation about honey bees

Beekeepers In Summer

Beekeeping during the summer months is the best time of year. It is the time of year that you get to watch the honey bees and make sure all is good. Generally, there is no sugar water and/or honey to be feeding the bees. This would be creating fake honey and although some do sell this as honey, it shouldn't be sold as honey to anyone.

All a beekeepers should do during the summer is to make the honey bees are doing a great job and thriving. Continue steps to prevent parasites like small hive beetles and varroa mites from hindering, destroying, and/or causing a honey bee hive to abscond. Some beekeepers will be raising nucs and queens to sell to others. And there is generally a first harvest of the season to bring in.

Keep Honey Bees Thriving

To keep honey bees thriving, they need to have food sources and water. This is where placement needs to be considered, but the honey bee will also fly up to five miles to locate food and water. This does leave the option pretty wide open, but it does help to have 600 acres of apple orchards, a quarter acre of blueberries, an acre of raspberries, and a few acres of clover and hay surrounding your hives. These are examples of food sources for the honey bee, and it will affect the flavor of the honey.

Water is generally a creek, river, or pond that is close by. But if this is not an option for a specific apiary then a beekeeper may need to get a little creative and put some plans into action to give the honey bees a water source. Several images of honey bee water sources are included below.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A bird bathA dog watererContainer filled with wine corks
A bird bath
A bird bath
A dog waterer
A dog waterer
Container filled with wine corks
Container filled with wine corks

Parasite Control

Parasite control is a year round effort when it comes to any husbandry, even with honey bees. A parasite situation that is left unchecked will destroy a hive or cause it to abscond. Sadly, this isn't always a quick situation. If a honey bee hive population is too low going into winter it will die from cold because there are not enough bees to ball and keep the honey bees alive. If the winter is somewhat warm for a winter, the varroa mites and small hive beetles can still be active while the bees are not active. These are reasons that parasite control is so important to keep honey bees alive and strong.

Selling Honey Bees

There are beekeepers that make a living or supplemental income from raising nucs and/or queen honey bees for sale to others. Nucs are pretty straight forward, it is a miniature honey bee hive that is half the normal size. When sold, there is honey and brood already established and it saves about six weeks of the development phase for the honey bee hive to become established. Although, nucs are generally offered five or six weeks after honey bee packages arrive. But they are more stable and already growing and ready for a population explosion.

Developing honey bee queens is an interesting endeavor with several different approaches. Honey bees can be tricked into developing honey bee queens in multiple ways. There are special boxes to create queens, the box is portioned off and there frames are moved in a specific cycle to continue to produce queens. One term for this box is "queen rearing hotel", another is "queen rearing nuc".

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hanging cells are made into queen cells.Changing frames each week to make new queens.
Hanging cells are made into queen cells.
Hanging cells are made into queen cells.
Changing frames each week to make new queens.
Changing frames each week to make new queens.

Honey Harvest

If there are established hives in an apiary, the first honey harvest will be in mid-summer. Often, a hive will have up to 100 pounds of honey if the season is good. So working to take honey boxes away, extract the honey, melt wax, and empty box placement are things that are needed.

Taking honey boxes away from a honey bee hive is generally pretty simple. The longest part of me is to brush the honey bees away from the frames, put the frame in a different box, seal it, and move on to the next frame until all the honey frames are off the hive. Then its time to take the honey frames to have the caps cut from the honeycomb and extract the honey. Honey is filtered to remove wax and other honey bee hive debris out of it. After being filtered, its time to bottle the honey to be sold or to be used later.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Brushing honey beesCutting caps offExtracting honeyFiltering honeyBottling honey
Brushing honey bees
Brushing honey bees
Cutting caps off
Cutting caps off
Extracting honey
Extracting honey
Filtering honey
Filtering honey
Bottling honey
Bottling honey

What Do Beekeepers Do

If you wonder what beekeepers do during other seasons, then read "What Do Beekeepers Do in Spring" and "What Do Beekeepers Do in Winter." If you have any questions, please post a comment and ask your question.

© 2018 Chris Andrews

Comments

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    • m-a-w-g profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Andrews 

      3 months ago from Ohio

      Cecil I appreciate the kind words and am glad that you enjoyed the article.

      Louise bees are so important, there is more information coming out all the time and I am glad that there is so much interest in the honey bee.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 months ago from Norfolk, England

      They have recently been talking on the news about how important bees are for pollination. I don't think a lot of people realise how important they are.

    • SgtCecil profile image

      Cecil Kenmill 

      3 months ago from Osaka, Japan

      Great work! Excellent information and beautiful pictures.

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