Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
Connect with us!
This information is meant to be a general guide to some of the main activities of
honey bees during each month of the year. Being mindful of the bees' activities can
help beekeepers to schedule their activities as well. Many local factors - particularly
the weather and temperature, abundance of floral resources, and the presence of hive
pests - will influence the exact timing of beekeeping chores. This is merely a suggested
checklist for beekeepers to consider throughout the year. Nectar flows can vary considerably
each year and in each region of the state. Beekeepers should be aware of local conditions
and adjust their activities accordingly.
Jump to: January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December
With temperatures still low, the queen bee should be deep in the cluster, surrounded
by workers. These workers will consume a considerable amount of honey to generate
the heat needed to survive the winter. There is little other activity in the hive
unless outside temperatures reach about 50°F, when some workers may take advantage
of the weather for a cleansing flight. Winter bees are longer-lived than summer bees,
but many will die of old age during the cold months. It is normal to see some dead
bees on the ground around the hive entrance. A strong hive will normally remove their
In years with very mild winters, the queen may begin to produce a small brood nest,
even though pollen may not yet be available.
Check the food supply of the hive periodically by gently tilting the hive forward
to judge whether the bees have sufficient honey stores. If not, they may require emergency
feeding. In very cold weather, the bees may not be able to leave their cluster for
long periods to feed. Avoid opening the hive in very cold weather. If there has been
snow or ice, make sure hive entrances are cleared to allow for ventilation. Also remove
dead bees that may be blocking the entrance.
In windy areas, place a brick or rock on top of your hives to keep the lid in place.
Now is the time to order new equipment, build and repair hives, frames and other woodenware
for the coming season. Clean your smoker and hive tools. Order package bees and queens
early to ensure earliest delivery. Read a good book or two to refresh and improve
your beekeeping knowledge.
The queen will be spending a lot of time in the cluster, but a few warm days will
lure some workers outside to investigate. When the first spring flowers begin to bloom,
they will return with pollen. Fresh pollen will stimulate the queen to begin some
limited egg-laying activity. Workers will take cleansing flights on warm days.
Increased activity and brood-rearing will cause the bees to consume a substantial
amount of stored honey this month. Unless an unusually warm and early spring promotes
early flowering, their surplus food supplies may be running low.
Check the bees' food supply, and provide emergency feeding if needed. Continue to
read up on bees. Attend your local beekeeping association meetings. Finish your workshop
chores so that all your hives are ready for spring. On a mild, sunny day with little
wind, it may be possible to have a look inside the hive. Don't remove any frames,
which may risk chilling the brood, but you can estimate the size of the cluster between
the frames. Patties of pollen or artificial pollen substitute can be provided to promote
earlier brood production. However, in periods of extended cold temperatures the worker
population may not be large enough to incubate a large brood nest. If weather permits
inspection, weak colonies (those with less than 2 full frames of bees) will probably
not recover adequately and can be united with other colonies. Medicate with Fumidil-B
for Nosema, if necessary. Excessive condensation on the inside of the lid may mean
ventilation is inadequate.
Days grow longer and warmer, and hive activity increases. As pollen-collection increases,
the queen's egg-laying will increase. Bees will require more food to care for all
the brood and to fuel flight activities. In years with a late spring, sufficient flowers
may not be available for a rapid build-up. The bees can risk starvation and may require
Drones will begin to appear in the hive. If conditions are good, early swarms are
You may inspect the hive on warm days to estimate food stores and see how much brood
is present. Evaluate the brood pattern and decide if requeening may be in order. If
you plan to medicate the hive for varroa mites or nosema, treatments should be timed
according to label recommendations so they are finished before the honey flow begins
(usually about 4 weeks).
Reverse brood chambers to provide the queen adequate space to lay eggs. If hives were
overwintered in a single hive body, consider adding another brood chamber to accommodate
the spring population. Remove entrance reducers. Replace any old or damaged combs
before the workers turn them all into drone comb.
Keep an eye out for queen cells, which you can use to divide a rapidly increasing
colony. Pollen patties can help boost the population in advance of the nectar flow.
You can equalize hives by moving frames of capped brood from strong colonies into
weaker ones before the major nectar flow begins. This may also delay swarming by strong
Once adult drones are seen in colonies, it is safe to begin rearing queens.
Spring is in full swing. Foraging activity and brood production should be in high
gear. Crowded hives are likely to swarm. As brood increases, Varroa mite populations
may begin to increase. Newly emerged queens will begin mating flights. However, excessively
cool and wet weather can keep bees in the hive, depleting their honey stores. Eggs
laid during the first part of this month will become the foragers that bring in much
of the spring honey crop.
For strong, established colonies, feeding should cease as the main spring honey flow
begins. Examine the hive every 8-10 days for queen cells and swarming activities.
If weather is poor for flying, some feeding may still be required to sustain the bees.
If weather is good, and flowers are available, you may need to begin adding supers
for honey. Remove all medications as directed before honey supers are added. Mail-order
package bees and queens will begin to arrive, and should be promptly installed. Splits
can be made from strong colonies.
In the hill areas of Arkansas, the spring honey flow will be near its peak toward
the end of May. Bees will be foraging constantly and the queen can be laying in excess
of 1500 eggs per day. Swarms are still possible if hives become too crowded or honey-bound.
Beekeepers:Some beekeepers will add a queen excluder to prevent brood in the honey supers. Be
sure that the queen has sufficient comb for egg-laying. Super all hives as needed.
In general, if a honey super is 3/4 full of nectar, you may want to add another. Supers
full of capped honey can be left on the hive.
Many beekeepers will add new supers below those that are capped, so that bees don't
have to travel through to add honey to empty combs. Top-supering is more convenient
for the beekeeper, however. While opinions differ, there is no evidence that either
method impacts the amount of honey stored.
The bee populations are high, and hive activity is bustling. If the weather is favorable,
nectar and pollen will continue to be brought in vigorously.
As the weather trends toward hotter and drier, the nectar flow typically ends in the
hill areas. The queen's egg production may also slow somewhat. In heavy agricultural
areas, nectar flow from irrigated soybeans and cotton will be strong. Bees may be
seen spread across the front of the hive cooling themselves on humid nights.
Colony growth rate slows as the nectar flow dries up in hill areas; bees will still
forage for clean water. During times of summer dearth, bees can often consume more
honey than they are storing. There is little chance of swarming during this period.
In the delta regions, nectar flow from agricultural crops may still be strong.
Ensure that bees have access to clean water. Watch out for robbing activities, which
may indicate a weak colony. In some locations, honey should be harvested before bitterweeds
bloom and ruin the flavor of the entire crop. Bees may tend to be cranky and more
prone to stinging during times of dearth, so be careful opening hives. Varroa mite
levels will be reaching peak numbers.
Cooler, wetter weather may produce a fall nectar flow, allowing bees to collect more
winter stores. Drones may evicted from the hives as workers sense changes in temperature
and food availability. Egg production will be reduced as the days get shorter and
Any remaining honey is harvested. Each colony will need about 50-60 pounds of honey
for winter. After honey is removed, medications for colony pests can be applied. Some
beekeepers will requeen colonies now, temporarily breaking the brood cycle and encouraging
good egg-laying by young queens in the early spring. Clean and safely store all empty
supers away from rodents and wax moths.
The queen's egg-laying continues to decrease, and the colony population will also
decline. No more drones will be produced, and those remaining will be expelled from
the hive. Workers continue to forage for winter food stores as long as they can.
Colonies may require some feeding to ready them for winter. Fall feeding is done with
2:1 (sugar:water) syrup. Mite treatments should be removed at the appropriate time
(consult product label). Mouse-guards can be installed. Watch for robbing activities.
When finished readying hives for winter, don't open them again unless necessary. Each
time a hive is opened, the bees must re-seal the cracks with propolis to keep out
As the weather turns cold, bee activity will be reduced outside the hive. The temperature
will send bees into a loose cluster as necessary.
Install entrance reducers. Finish winter feeding. Don't open hives is cold weather.
In windy areas, secure hive lids with a brick or rock. Now enjoy some honey. Review
your records and evaluate colony performance. Consider what you might do differently
next year. Attend your local beekeeper meetings and compare notes. Evaluate equipment
and consider repairs or replacements. Render and clean any leftover wax.
The bees are in a tight cluster, alternating between generating heat with their wing
muscles and resting and eating on the outside of the cluster. The queen is taking
a much-needed break from egg production.
Leave your bees alone. Periodically test winter stores by gently tilting the hive,
but do not open the lid. Order new tools and supplies for spring and get all of your
equipment in order. Consider expanding your apiary. Enjoy a few books and drink some
tea with honey in it. Turn your excess wax into candles and give away a few jars of
your finest honey as holiday gifts. Plan to place your orders for spring package bees
and queens early to ensure you are at the top of the list.