Happy New Year! With the start of a new year, comes a fresh start in beekeeping.
Successful beekeeping requires a fair amount of seasonal upkeep and maintenance of our equipment. I have been doing maintenance all this past month.
What does "maintenance" in the middle of winter consist of? Here's is my go-to "to-do" list:
-Inspect unused beekeeping equipment and make an inventory of what needs to be repaired or replaced. This includes:
- Collecting and repairing frames, hive boxes, as well as replacing foundation. As you can see below, I need to replace over a dozen foundations and power wash over two dozen plastic frames.
- Scrape off propolis and wax buildup, and remove wax moth cocoons from unused hive boxes and frames.
- Scrape old paint off and repaint hive boxes. To save some cash and change up the color scheme of our hives, I acquired several full cans of paint from my county's hazardous waste disposal center. If you're not too picky, you will find plenty of paint choices.
- Wash out your extractor to remove last year's honey residue.
Finally, don't forget to place your orders for replacement equipment, food supplements, and Varroa mite treatments SOON. COVID has caused delays nationwide in shipping, and you want to make sure you have what you need, WHEN you need it. I've already experienced major delays for orders of pollen supplements and beekeeping equipment in 2020.
This is probably the least enjoyable part of beekeeping. However, putting in the effort now will help to ensure your bees don't choose to abscond/swarm during the swarm season due to less than acceptable living conditions.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.