Beekeeping is a year-round responsibility. The difference between having bees and keeping bees really comes down to your ability to invest in the success of the colony. To do this successfully, we as beekeepers have to acknowledge both the financial costs and investments in time and attention to our bees. Corwin Bell, a beekeeper, owner of BackyardHive, and creator of the Cathedral Hive has coined the phrase "Bee Guardian." I really like this idea of us being guardians to our bees. To be properly be true guardians of our bees, we must have a solid understanding of the annual responsibilities we need to plan for both during busy and winter seasons.
"Beekeeping is a year-round responsibility. The difference between having bees and keeping bees really comes down to your ability to invest in the success of the colony."
There are, without end, plenty of different management styles. Grab 3 beekeepers in a room and ask them a question and you'll get about 6 answers; all drastically contradictory and fueled with passion compared to the one before it. It is expected that many beekeepers may disagree with this management plan. The goal of this post is to give beekeepers a guide to their annual management. It is not a black-and-white protocol. Treatment-free beekeepers, for example, will take issue with many of the integrated pest management (IPM) techniques listed in this post. Beekeepers focused on replicating hives for pollination or sale vs. creating production hive for honey sales will disagree with the extracting of honey and would rather give that honey back to the bees.