How to care for bees

How to care for bees

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Caring for bees may seem simple to some - these are insects. The beekeeper doesn't have to do anything at all, only pump out honey at the end of summer. Someone will say that it is easier to deal with animals than an incomprehensible colony with its own laws and biorhythms. But in beekeeping, as in any business, there are pitfalls and secrets.

How to properly care for bees

For beginners, it may seem that caring for bees at home is easy: for the winter you need to insulate the hive, remove the insulation in the spring, sit relaxed on the porch with a cup of coffee in the summer, pump out honey in the fall and insulate the hive for the winter. In fact, the beekeeper has enough to do with the apiary, even if he drinks tea on the veranda in the evening.

For both the beekeeper and the green novice, each cycle of apiary care and honey production begins in early spring. For a beginner in the first year, it is better to purchase turnkey hives with ready-made families. Even if it costs more. Then you have to do it on your own.

Attention! Sometimes newcomers find it better to buy new families every year.

Experienced beekeepers say that such a policy is not profitable in the production of honey. The purchased families will be smaller and weaker than the "old", sprawling colonies. The amount of honey obtained directly depends on the size of the colonies.

Spring bee care

For those who are just starting the first cycle and have bought bee colonies already completely ready, and in new hives, care can begin closer to summer, when the queen flies around. If the second year of beekeeping has begun, the care of bees in the hives begins as soon as the temperature outside reaches + 8 ° C.

Spring care begins with replanting bees in a clean hive. To do this, the inhabited house is removed from the supports and set aside. A clean one is put in its place. The replacement hive does not have to be new, but it does need to be cleaned, scrubbed and disinfected.

After that, a printed honey-feather frame, prepared in advance, is placed in the hive. After issuing the minimum ration, the old hive is opened and the condition of the frames is checked in it. They shake off the bees from the vomited and put such frames in a portable box. Unmatched and containing honey are transferred to a new hive. The filling of the new hive begins in the middle.

Important! The term "vomited" means exactly what comes to mind first.

Bees get stomach upset in winter. At best, it is not contagious, at worst, a viral disease of nosematosis. Due to the possible presence of a virus, the frames should be removed during spring care. Beekeepers, confident in the health of their bees, sometimes leave such limits. Coming out of their torpor, the bees will cleanse them themselves. But it's better not to risk it.

Next to the honey frame, put a printed honey-pepper and then a frame with brood. All other frames in the old hive are checked in the same way. Vast and moldy thrown away. After all the usable frames have been transferred to the new home, the total amount of honey is checked. If less than 8 kg, add honey unopened frames. After that, bees are transplanted into a clean hive. You don't have to worry about caring for transplanted families for a month.

Summer bee care

In the summer, the bees work independently, and there is no need to disturb them once again. At this time, they are able to feed themselves if there are enough flowering melliferous plants in the area. Summer keeping and caring for bees is reduced to checking the hives 2 times a month to make sure that the family is not rotten and is collecting enough honey.

They try to choose a place for an apiary so that the bees do not have to fly far for a bribe. The shorter the path to the melliferous plants, the more honey the bees will have time to collect in a day. But sometimes flowering is late or there is little nectar in the flowers. The double checks during the summer care will help determine if everything is in order with the collection of honey. If it turns out that there are fewer bribes than in previous years, the hives are taken out closer to the honey plants.

Supervising the formation of the family is to check if there are too many drone brood and if there are enough cells for workers. More thorough care is not required in most cases.


The only case when the active intervention of the beekeeper is required during summer care is swarming. Families need to be monitored so that the exit of the uterus with a new swarm does not go unnoticed. Swarming always takes place on a clear day, since a good uterus is sensitive to the weather. Signs of the beginning of swarming:

  • bees fly out of the hive and hover around;
  • after the appearance of the uterus, the swarm adjoins it.

The beekeeper should not miss this moment, as otherwise the swarm will fly away on their own to look for a new home.

What to do if bees start swarming:

  1. Collect the bees with a scoop and a swarm. It is advisable to immediately find and catch the queen, then the bees will enter the swarm without coercion.
  2. Those who do not want to go into the swarm of bees are driven in its direction with the help of smoke.
  3. The collected swarm is taken to a dark room and left for an hour, after which they listen to whether the swarm has calmed down. The continued disturbance of the bees means that either there is no queen in the swarm, or there are several queens.
  4. If there are several queens, the swarm is shaken out, females are found and only one queen is left to the new colony. The rest are placed in cages.
  5. In the absence of a queen, the swarm is given a stranger.

The alien female is planted in the evening. Dryness and combs with brood are placed in the hive. Usually the swarm remains to live in a new place, forming an ordinary colony. The beekeeper usually does not have other troubles in summer care if the air temperature is within acceptable values.

Sometimes the summer is not cold, but very hot. In this case, the bribe also decreases, since the flowers wither early. The bees themselves may be too hot in the hive at this time.

What to do if the bees are hot

A sign that the hive is overheated is bunches of bees near the entrance. This situation usually occurs when the outside air temperature is higher than it should be in the hive, and the fan bees cannot cope with their functions.

The heat inside the house is dangerous, first of all, for the brood. He can die from overheating. Apiaries are often located in the middle of an open area under the sun. This situation is good in the morning, when the bees warm up and fly away earlier than usual for a bribe. Not bad is the quick warming up of the hive in early spring, when the queens are selected for flight. The rest of the time, it is more harmful than useful.

With a large enough family, the bees themselves can raise the temperature in their home to the temperature they need. In this case, they do not need care. But during a hot summer, a large family suffers, and here protective measures must be taken:

  • move the hives to the shade;
  • if it is impossible to move, build a canopy over them;
  • insulate the outside of the hives.

The canopy is often made of construction protective mesh, which creates a slight shade and allows air to flow freely. When installing thermal insulation, it must be remembered that no material by itself heats or cools anything. It only maintains the already existing temperature.

This property of heat insulators can be used to combine the need for early heating in the spring and protection from the heat in summer. The hive, painted with white paint, heats up less, but this is bad in spring. A dark colored hive will heat up quickly in spring but overheat in summer.

To accommodate the opposite requirements, the hive can also be dyed dark. But in the summer it is obligatory to insulate it from the outside with foam, slate or other poorly heat-conducting material.

Important! Ventilation openings must not be covered with insulation.

The deaf walls of the hive and the roof are closed with a clear conscience. Shading and insulation are all that can be done when caring for bees during abnormally hot summers.

What to do with bees after honey pumping

In August, the bees begin to prepare for wintering. The timing of honey pumping depends on the activity of the colony and the degree of maturity of the product. The frames are taken for pumping, which the bees began to clog with wax. From mid-August, they begin to audit families. At the same time, you can do the last pumping of honey, although many beekeepers prefer to carry out this procedure in early August.

Caring for bees after honey pumping consists in preparing families for winter. On August 15-20, an autumn audit of the hives is carried out.

Bee care in autumn

Autumn care is the most troublesome. At the end of August, the hive is completely dismantled. All frames are carefully examined, including brood frames that could not be touched all summer. The amount of honey, bee bread, brood and bees is recorded. In the presence of fresh open brood, the queen is not looked for. If there is only a closed one, the uterus must be found.

The discovered queen is carefully examined. In the absence of any defects, the colony is considered normal, and the female is left for the next year.

It should be borne in mind that the uterus can abruptly stop egg-laying if the supply of honey in the hive suddenly decreases (pumping was performed). This situation is not related to the physical condition of the female and does not need to be replaced.

If there is no uterus or she has physical disabilities, the colony is marked and its fate is determined later. During the autumn inspection, all low-quality and old combs are discarded and the hive is pre-assembled for wintering: holes with a diameter of 8-10 mm are made in the remaining combs in the center so that in winter the bees can freely move around the nest.

After that, using the compiled records, they analyze the apiary, the state of the families and decide how many colonies should be left for the winter. If necessary, weak and strong families are united. They also decide in which families and in what quantity to distribute frames with honey, bee bread and brood.

Important! The food in the hive should be 4-5 kg ​​more than the family needs for wintering.

This is due to the fact that bees do not fall into suspended animation, but continue their vital activity in winter. Although less than in warm weather, but in winter the bees feed in the same way, feed the brood, and the queen lays new eggs. Because of the brood, the colony needs "extra" food supplies.

How much honey to leave for a family depends on the owner's preference. Some take the natural honey, and the bees are offered sugar syrup for quick replenishment. There is an opinion that bees get sick from such honey. They definitely do not recommend taking "sugar" honey for pumping out next summer. Even if it remains with the bees.

With proper preparation for winter, bee care is not necessary until spring. With improper care and insulation, the colony will not survive the winter.

Transport of bees

Long-distance transportation of bees is carried out 2 times a year or not at all. Depends on the location of the apiary. The apiary is transported not for the purpose of leaving, but for obtaining more honey. If the apiary is located well, it does not need transportation.

In the spring, they try to transport the hives closer to the flowering gardens. In summer, it is better to place the apiary next to a flowering meadow. If the hives are located on the territory of a large agro-industrial company with versatile activities, then it is only necessary to take the colonies closer to the farmland in the spring, and pick them up for wintering in the fall.

When transporting hives, certain rules must be followed in order to transport the apiary safely:

  • When preparing the hives for transportation, the frames are fixed. If there are not enough frames, they are shifted to one side and a diaphragm is inserted, which is fixed with nails.
  • The frames are closed from above with ceiling strips so that there are no gaps.
  • To ensure air circulation, a hole is made in one of the ceiling frames.
  • They put the hives backwards and securely fasten.
  • It is better to carry out transportation when the bees have already finished their daytime years, but have not yet departed in the morning. In fact, such transportation is carried out at night.

The last condition is not always feasible and it will be enough to drive slowly so that the bees that have flown out can find their home.

Important! Transportation is carried out slowly, avoiding shaking.

Transferring bees to a new hive

A transplant is required for spring and sometimes autumn apiary care. Part of the bee transplant takes place along with a good framework. Insects are not shaken off from them, but carefully moved to a new place. The rest of the swarm will need to be moved manually. In order to transplant all the bees from one hive to another without damage, the queen is first transferred. The bees usually calmly follow her.

Since there may be flightless individuals in the hive, the old and new houses are placed opposite each other with entrances. The landing sites must be in contact so that those who do not fly could crawl to a new place of residence. Or everyone who cannot follow the uterus by himself is carried by hand.

Important! The frames in the new hive should be the same as in the old one.

Correct bee transplant:

How bees are fumigated

When caring for bees, you cannot do without a device that helps to avoid stings. It is called "smoker" and has a fairly simple design:

  • cylindrical body made of two layers of metal;
  • lid with spout;
  • fur to supply air inside.

With simple care, a material is laid in the smoker that will smolder, but will not give a flame. During the treatment, the appropriate preparations are poured onto the embers.

Fumigation does not "pacify" bees because of the smoke itself. Feeling the smoke, insects instinctively begin to eat honey. In the event of a forest fire, they will have to move to a new place and it is better to do this with at least some food supplies. Therefore, working individuals "gorge on" to a full abdomen. And such a belly bends badly and it becomes uncomfortable to sting. It is on the impossibility of sting that the mechanism of "pacification" is based.

Important! The smoker does not give a 100% guarantee that there will be no bites.

There may always be a bee that is not sufficiently "fed" or has just returned from the meadows.

Than to fumigate

The smoker is filled with material capable of smoldering for a long time without a flame. Store-bought charcoal cannot be used, it gives too high a temperature and very little smoke. The best materials for a smoker are:

  • wood rot;
  • dried tinder fungus;
  • oak bark.

Wood rot can be collected from tree stumps in the forest and dried. Tinder fungus often settles even in gardens, it must be destroyed. In this case, you can combine two goals at once. Collect the tinder fungus in the spring.

Attention! Always have supplies for the smoker on hand.

What categorically cannot be used:

  • pieces of chipboard and fiberboard;
  • fresh wood;
  • fresh sawdust.

Chipboards are impregnated with toxic substances that will kill bees. Wood and sawdust burn, not smolder. The flames will anger the worker bees.

Correct fumigation

You must not abuse the smoke pipe. To calm down the bees and start stocking up on honey, it is enough to release 2-3 puffs of smoke. This is a signal for insects that there is a fire somewhere, but they can be bypassed. Or it will not bypass and you need to stock up on food. If you smoke too much bees in the hive, it will be a signal that a fire is near. We must rise and fly to a new place. Too much smoke will only irritate the bees.

Important! When caring for bees, the smoker must be kept at such a distance so as not to burn the bees.

Safety rules when working in an apiary

The instructions for the care of bees provide not only for the use of a smoker, but also for the wearing of special clothing that protects against bites:

  • closed shoes;
  • long pants;
  • long-sleeve shirt;
  • sleeve cuffs should be with elastic bands;
  • gloves;
  • hat with a mosquito net.

When caring for bees, you can get 50 or more stings per day.If 1-2 can even be beneficial, then a large amount of bee venom will cause a strong allergic reaction, or even death.


Caring for bees from the outside seems like a calm, unhurried occupation, but this is due to the fact that insects do not like sudden movements. In fact, grooming requires care, accuracy and significant investment of labor from the beekeeper.

Watch the video: 3 Mistakes Beginning Beekeepers Make - GardenFork