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New England Beekeeping Calendar

The New England Beekeeping Calendar serves as a planning tool for your beekeeping activities

Developed by Master Beekeeper Marta Soltyszewska, based on observations made of nature and beekeeping over several years, the calendar helps establish and manage a plan for beekeeping activities, integrating historical data and current observations. 


How to use the Beekeeping Calendar

Generally, the calendar is marked with any observations deemed significant, which could influence bee colony growth, health, and overall well-being, or simplify and improve beekeeping management. When keeping 1-2 hives, inspection notes can be easily kept directly on the calendar; when the number of colonies grows, more detailed notes can be shifted to separate documents.


A printed version of the calendar is maintained, where observations are recorded in detail on the monthly grid. Historical calendars are also preserved for reference, aiding in preparation for upcoming events and trends in beekeeping.


Download Calendar Template here:
Beekeeping Calendar
.zip
Download ZIP • 1.10MB


Weather and Seasonal Conditions

An important aspect of the calendar is its focus on weather patterns and seasonal changes, particularly around the local region. Using data from sources like Weather Underground, the calendar aids in forecasting and adapting to unusual weather, which significantly affects beekeeping.


  • Include a section for seasonal conditions and weather, tailored to your specific location.

  • Use historical weather data to make informed decisions.

  • Record unusual weather patterns as they can significantly impact beekeeping.


Nectar and Pollen Sources

The calendar thoroughly documents various local blooms, essential as food sources for honeybees. Noting the commencement of specific blooms is critical, as it often indicates the timing for essential beekeeping activities, such as adding supers.


  • List observed blooms in your area, noting them as nectar and pollen sources for bees.

  • Record unusual pollen colors seen on bees or in the hive, using pollen color charts for identification.


Monitoring Nectar Flow

Monitoring the start and end of the nectar flow is crucial for honey storage and harvest management. Observations like new white wax on frames inform key decisions, like when to introduce new frames for comb building.


  • Keep track of the start and end dates of nectar flow for managing honey storage and harvesting.

  • Note when you add or remove supers or collect honey frames, watching for signs like white wax on frames.


Addressing Nectar Dearth

The calendar also highlights strategies for supporting bees during times of nectar scarcity. Planting particular plants around the apiary, like hydrangeas and mints, can prove beneficial during these tough periods.


  • Make observations during nectar dearth periods and note which plants bees visit, aiding in strategic planting around the apiary.


Maintaining Colony Inspection Records

Besides environmental considerations, the calendar acts as a comprehensive log for hive health and management. It includes a range of activities, from checking the queen’s status to handling food storage and bee behavior.


  • Include dates and types of colony inspections, highlighting issues that need attention such as queen status, food storage, bee behaviors, swarm preparations, hive changes, and pest issues.


Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

A significant feature is the recording of pest management practices. It details varroa mite testing, treatments, and other IPM methods, essential for healthy bee colonies.


  • Document IPM practices, including varroa mite testing, results, and treatments.


Preparing for Winter

As winter approaches, the calendar's focus shifts to activities like oxalic acid vaporization and checking for emergency feeding requirements.


  • Note activities like oxalic acid vaporization, bee cleansing flights, and obvervational checks for winter food or emergency feeding.



By meticulously following these steps, the New England Beekeeping Calendar can significantly enhance beekeeping management, keeping beekeepers organized and prepared throughout the year.


 

Marta Soltyszewska

About the Author: Marta Soltyszewska

Marta Soltyszewska, a Cornell-certified Master Beekeeper, has been a dedicated backyard beekeeper for the past 8 years. She maintains an average of 7 honey bee colonies, housed in a combination of Langstroth and hybrid AZ Slovenian/Langstroth hives. Her primary objective is to uphold the healthiest colonies achievable, focusing on natural resistance to varroa mites through non-synthetic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices. She prefers locally adapted Russian, Saskatraz, and recently, Minnesota Hygienic queens, as her experience has shown them to be varroa-resistant, highly productive in honey-making, and gentle.


Her secondary aim is to disseminate beekeeping expertise and encourage new generations to take up this enriching hobby, thereby aiding pollinators at large. With a Master Beekeeping certification and an academic background in biology and teaching, including a Master of Science degree from Poland and experience teaching Anatomy and Anthropology at a Polish university, she aspires to mentor budding beekeepers.


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