March 4, 2020/Bee

Month

Management Recommendations

January

1) Feed colonies if light. (Colonies can starve!) Also supply
pollen supplements if necessary. For more information on
ensuring colony nutrition, see The Benefits of Pollen to Honey Bees (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in868).
2) Nosema can be a significant colony problem this time of year.
Making sure colonies are well fed will reduce Nosema spore
counts (one million spores per bee is considered a high spore
count). For information on monitoring Nosema in colonies,
see How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1123).
3) Repair/paint old equipment. For more information, see
Preserving Woodenware in Beekeeping Operations
(http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa244).

February

1) Feed colonies if light. (Colonies can starve!)
2) Nosema can be a significant colony problem this time of year.
Making sure colonies are well fed will reduce Nosema spore
counts (one million spores per bee is considered a high spore
count). For information on monitoring Nosema in colonies, see
How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1123).
3) Colonies can be treated with Terramycin (oxytetracycline) or
Tylan (tylsoin) for American foulbrood (AFB) prevention or
Lincomix (lincomycin) or Terramycin (oxytetracycline) for
European foulbrood (EFB). These products require a prescription
or a veterinary feed directive from a veterinarian. For more
information on rules surrounding prescription antibiotics for
honey bees, see “Using Medically Important Antimicrobials in
Bees—Questions and Answers” (https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApproval
Process/ucm589399.htm
).
4) Make nucs/splits.

March

1) Queen issues are especially problematic this time of year.
Remedy failing queens as necessary.
2) Colonies can be treated with Terramycin (oxytetracycline)
or Tylan (tylsoin) for American foulbrood (AFB) prevention or
Lincomix (lincomycin) or Terramycin (oxytetracycline) for
European foulbrood (EFB). These products require a prescription
or a veterinary feed directive from a veterinarian. For more
information on rules surrounding prescription antibiotics for
honey bees, see “Using Medically Important Antimicrobials in
Bees—Questions and Answers” (https://www.fda.gov/Animal
Veterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm589399.htm
).
3) Colony populations begin to grow. Add supers and/or control
swarming as necessary. For more information on controlling
swarms, see Swarm Control for Managed Beehives
(http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in970).

April

1) Queen issues are especially problematic this time of year.
Remedy failing queens as necessary.
2) Continue to control swarming. For more information, see
Swarm Control for Managed Beehives
(http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in970).
3) Make nucs/splits as new queens and packages become
available.
4) Super as necessary.
5) Orange blossom honey can be extracted in late April.

May

1) Queen issues are especially problematic this time of year.
Remedy failing queens as necessary.
2) Continue to control swarming. For more information,
see Swarm Control for Managed Beehives
(http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in970).
3) Super as necessary.

June

1) Varroa populations begin to grow, so monitor your colonies.
Consider treating when Varroa levels reach 3% (3 mites per 100
bees as determined by an alcohol wash or a sugar shake).
Treatment options include: Apiguard, Apistan, Apivar, Hopguard,
and Mite Away (always follow label instructions). For information
on how to monitor for Varroa read “Tools for Varroa
Management” (http://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wp-content/
uploads/2016/11/HBHC-Guide_Varroa_Interactive_v5_
31October2016.pdf
), and watch “Sampling Methods”
(https://youtu.be/IgPfT9FQxLc).
2) Super as necessary for late flows.
3) If flow is over, remove and process honey. For more
information on honey processing, see Bottling, Labeling,
and Selling Honey in Florida
 (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in918).

July

1) Monitor for Varroa. Consider treating when Varroa levels
reach 3% (3 mites per 100 bees as determined by an alcohol
wash or a sugar shake). Treatment options include: Apiguard,
Apistan, Apivar, Hopguard, and Mite Away (always follow label
instructions). For information on how to monitor for Varroa
read “Tools for Varroa Management”
(http://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/
HBHC-Guide_Varroa_Interactive_v5_31October2016.pdf
), and
watch “Sampling Methods” (https://youtu.be/IgPfT9FQxLc).
2) Remove and process honey; main flow stops. For more
information on honey processing, see Bottling, Labeling, and
Selling Honey in Florida
 (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in918).

August

1) Feed colonies if light. (Colonies can starve!)
2) Monitor for Varroa. Consider treating when Varroa levels
reach 3% (3 mites per 100 bees as determined by an alcohol wash
or a sugar shake). Treatment options include: Apiguard, Apistan,
Apivar, Hopguard, and Mite Away (always follow label
instructions). For information on how to monitor for Varroa read
“Tools for Varroa Management” (http://honeybeehealthcoalition.
org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/HBHC-uide_Varroa_Interactive_
v5_31October2016.pdf
), and watch “Sampling Methods”
(https://youtu.be/IgPfT9FQxLc).
3) Colonies can be treated with Terramycin (oxytetracycline) or
Tylan (tylsoin) for American foulbrood (AFB) prevention or
Lincomix (lincomycin) or Terramycin (oxytetracycline) for
European foulbrood (EFB). These products require a prescription
or a veterinary feed directive from a veterinarian. For more
information on rules surrounding prescription antibiotics for
honey bees, see “Using Medically Important Antimicrobials in
Bees—Questions and Answers” (https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApproval
Process/ucm589399.htm
).
4) Monitor and control for small hive beetles. Control options
include GardStar and in-hive beetle traps (Hood trap, West
beetle trap, Beetle Blaster, etc.). Always follow pesticide label instructions. For more information, see Small Hive Beetle,
Aethina tumida Murray (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in854).
5) It’s hot! Ensure adequate colony ventilation.

September

1) If no nectar flow, feed colonies if light.
2) Monitor for Varroa. Consider treating when Varroa levels
reach 3% (3 mites per 100 bees as determined by an alcohol
wash or a sugar shake). Treatment options include: Apiguard, Apistan, Apivar, Hopguard, and Mite Away (always follow label instructions). For information on how to monitor for Varroa
read “Tools for Varroa Management” (http://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wpontent/uploads/2016/11/
HBHC-Guide_Varroa_Interactive_v5_31October2016.pdf
), and
watch “Sampling Methods” (https://youtu.be/IgPfT9FQxLc).
3) Nosema can be a significant colony problem this time of
year. Making sure colonies are well fed will reduce Nosema
spore counts (one million spores per bee is considered a high
spore count). For information on monitoring Nosema in
colonies, see How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a
Honey Bee Colony
 (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1123).
4) Super colonies if there is a strong Brazilian pepper flow.

October–December

1) Feed colonies if light. (Colonies can starve!)
2) Monitor for Varroa. Consider treating when Varroa levels
reach 3% (3 mites per 100 bees as determined by an alcohol
wash or a sugar shake). Treatment options include: Apiguard, Apistan, Apivar, Hopguard, and Mite Away (always follow label instructions). For information on how to monitor for Varroa
read “Tools for Varroa Management” http://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/
2016/11/HBHC-Guide_Varroa_Interactive_v5_31October2016.
pdf
), and watch “Sampling Methods” (https://youtu.be/IgPfT9F
QxLc
).
3) Nosema can be a significant colony problem this time of
year. Making sure colonies are well fed will reduce Nosema
spore counts (one million spores per bee is considered a high
spore count). For information on monitoring Nosema in
colonies, see How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in
a Honey Bee Colony
 (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1123).
4) Monitor and control for small hive beetles. Control options
include GardStar and in-hive beetle traps (Hood trap, West
beetle trap, Beetle Blaster, etc.). Always follow pesticide label instructions. For more information, see Small Hive Beetle,
Aethina tumida Murray (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in854).

Footnotes

1.  This document is ENY156, one of a series of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 2010. Revised November 2013 and July 2018. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2. James D. Ellis, associate professor; Mary C. Bammer, Extension coordinator, Entomology & Nematology Department; and William H. Kern, Jr., associate professor; Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.

Honey news, articles and information

The beekeeper management calendar above was created for beekeepers in Florida. It is specific to region (north, central, south Florida) and month. The calendar includes recommendations for major management considerations like when to treat for parasites or pathogens and when to feed colonies or harvest honey. This management calendar is not exhaustive. It is meant merely as a reference or starting point for honey bee colony management in Florida. It is important that Florida beekeepers consult their local UF/IFAS Extension office (http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/map/) or Apiary Inspector (http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry/Bureaus-and-Services/Office-Locations/Apiary-Inspector-Directory) should any specific management questions arise. When considering treating colonies with pesticides, always follow label instructions; the label is the law.

Selected References

DeBerry, S., J. Crowley, and J. D. Ellis. 2012. Swarm Control for Managed Beehives. ENY-160. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in970

Ellis, J. D., W. H. Kern, and C. M. Zattel Nalen, 1992. Preserving Woodenware in Beekeeping Operations. ENY-125. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa244

Ellis, J. D. and A. Ellis. 2010. Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida Murray (Insecta: Coleoptera: Nitidulidae). EENY-474. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in854

Ellis, A., J.D. Ellis, M. K. O’Malley, and C. M. Zettel Nalen. 2010. The Benefits of Pollen to Honey Bees. ENY-152. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in868

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 2018. Apiary Inspector Directory. Retrieved from https://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry/Bureaus-and-Services/Office-Locations/Apiary-Inspector-Directory

Gentry, N. and J. D. Ellis. 2012. Bottling, Labeling, and Selling Honey in Florida. ENY-159. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in918

Honey Bee Health Coalition. (2016, November 4). 2 3 Sampling Methods 111116. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgPfT9FQxLc&feature=youtu.be

Honey Bee Health Coalition. 2016. Tools for Varroa Management: A Guide to Effective Varroa Sampling and Control. The Keystone Policy Center. Retrieved from https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/HBHC-Guide_Varroa_Interactive_v5_31October2016.pdf

Mortensen, A. N, C, J, Jack, M. McConnell, L. Teigen, and J. D. Ellis. 2016. How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony. ENY-167. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1123

United States Food and Drug Administration. 2017. Using Medically Important Antimicrobials in Bees – Questions and Answers. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm589399.htm

University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Extension. 2018. Districts, Directors and County Offices. Retrieved from http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/find-your-local-office/

The year-round Beekeeping Management Calendar can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848 

Author

Pro-Beekeeper

We save bees free of charge, remove and resettle them into safe habitats. About 38% of bee colonies in the USA died during the last 2 years. Honey bees — wild and domestic — perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. Grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, but fruits, nuts, and vegetables are pollinated by bees. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops — which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition — are pollinated by bees.

Please help us, donate to save bees!

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe for weekly news
Follow us