Beekeeping is an interesting and rewarding activity, but the time of year you start beekeeping is crucial for your success. Is the productive summer season a good time of year to start beekeeping and get your first hive?
You can start beekeeping in the summer if you start with a strong colony and your summers are long and warm. If your summers are short, cool, and wet, it would be better to start beekeeping in the early spring to give the colony time to build up numbers and resources before winter.
Beekeepers must take into account the seasonal cycle in bee colonies. This includes starting beekeeping at the right time to give the bees the best chance of success and survival. Summer can be a good time to start beekeeping, but some aspects must be considered.
Is Summer A Good Time To Start Beekeeping?
Summer is the busiest and most productive time of year for bees. It is the time of year that the bees build up their numbers, fill combs with honey, and build up resources in the colony for winter.
It may initially seem like summer is a good time to start beekeeping, but some conditions must be considered during this season.
Several factors affect the success of starting beekeeping in the summer.
- The size of the colony
- The health of the queen
- How late in the summer season are you starting beekeeping?
- Is there sufficient forage available for the bees?
The size of the colony matters because weaker colonies will take longer to become established and build up their numbers and resources in the colony. If you are starting beekeeping with a small colony, it would be best to start in spring rather than summer.
This starting time will maximize the time the colony has before winter to boost its population and bring in the required resources. The queen’s health and age will also affect how well the colony can achieve the required results.
If another beekeeper has sold or gifted you a robust and established colony, you can start beekeeping anytime in the summer. The proviso, in this case, is that your apiary site has sufficient resources to support the colony.
Relocating a large colony from a bountiful area to one with limited resources will compromise the colony and cause it to decline ahead of the winter season.
When Is Summer Not A Good Time To Start Beekeeping?
Summer is a good time to start beekeeping if you start early enough or you start with a strong bee colony.
A strong colony will give you a good start as a beekeeper in the summer, and you may even experience your first honey harvest, which is a truly magical feeling!
Starting beekeeping in summer is not a good idea if you are starting with a small colony. You may have to nurse the colony along, and it may require more manual intervention by you as the beekeeper to help them survive.
While this is a good learning experience, your bees may not survive the winter if you make the wrong decision at the wrong time.
What Happens If You Start A Beehive Too Late In The Summer?
Starting beekeeping too late in the summer may compromise the colony’s ability to survive the winter, and it will place a lot of pressure on you as a new beekeeper to assist the colony
Small colonies started late in summer will often need to be overwintered above a strong colony, requiring you to have at least one strong colony for each weak one to help them overwinter.
Depending on your local climate, you may need to begin feeding your bees in the fall to prepare them for the winter dearth.
If your bees do not have enough provisions to see them through the winter and they do not have enough numbers to keep the hive and the queen warm, the colony will die out.
This may happen even if you feed your bees during the winter. If they do not have the numbers to maintain the hive’s internal environment, the colony won’t survive.
Is The Climate Where You Live Good For Beekeeping?
The climate where you live also plays a large role in the success of starting beekeeping in the summer. Regions with long warm summers and short winters are more suitable for starting beekeeping in the summer than climates with short summers and long, cold winters.
If you live in a region where your summer season is mild and short, you may not have enough time to start beekeeping as late as mid-summer. This timeframe will not give the colony enough time to build up resources.
In these regions, the earlier you start your beekeeping in the spring and summer seasons, the better your chances of success.
Likewise, if your summers are cool and wet, the bees may not be able to build the colony enough before winter. Bees cannot fly and forage if there are extended summer rainfall periods. The spring season would be the best time of year to start beekeeping in this climate.
When Is The Best Time Or Season To Start Beekeeping?
If you start beekeeping in the summer, the best time is the beginning of summer or during a nectar flow. Nectar flows happen several times in the summer season and provide the bees with abundant resources to strengthen the colony.
Nectar flow periods vary from region to region, depending on the local vegetation and flowering cycles. To become a beekeeper, you need to be aware of these cycles in your area, so learn them right from the beginning.
Local beekeeping associations are a good place to find out this information and garner advice, tips, and tricks from experienced local beekeepers. Most beekeeping associations have an invaluable depth of knowledge that is extremely helpful to new beekeepers.
The absolute best time to start beekeeping is in the early spring. Obtaining a bee colony early in the spring will maximize the colony’s chances of growing and building resources for the winter.
Starting in early spring will also allow you, as a new beekeeper, to experience a full summer season and learn how to take care of your bees without waiting until the next season to learn these lessons.
Unless you start with a strong colony, don’t expect to get a honey harvest in your first season. Weaker colonies may only give you a harvest in the second or third productive season.
If you want to start beekeeping and your summer has already arrived, I would suggest partnering with an experienced beekeeper who can mentor you through the process of preparing your bees for winter.
An experienced beekeeper may also be able to help you overwinter your colony at their established apiary site so you can get a headstart on the next spring season!
It is possible to start beekeeping in the summer, but this time of year has many criteria that will affect the success or failure of the colony.
Spring is the best season to start beekeeping in most parts of the world to give the bee colony the maximum benefit of the spring and summer seasons and present a gentler learning curve to the beekeeper!