Beekeeping in the South

Book cover for Beekeeping, Questions and AnswersBy Dennis Brown

Editor’s Note: Dennis, of Lone Star Farms, is author of two books on our favorite insect. You may obtain both Beekeeping: A Personal Journey and Beekeeping: Questions and Answers from the Walter T. Kelley Company.

Beekeeping is hard work and working bees in August is insane in the southern states when the temperature is 100°F or higher. But, we do it anyway. A good manager of bees understands that the bees need to be worked no matter how hot it is outside and makes sure that the bees come first.

In Texas, in August, the bees have put the tallow flow behind them and are coasting along until September rolls around when the fall nectar flow begins. At Lone Star Farms, however, we are busy storing the honey supers and cleaning up the honey house and extracting equipment. August is the month that the Southern beekeeper assesses how well he managed his/her bees for the past year. The proof is in the “honey” so to speak. If Mother Nature has provided lots of nectar resources for the bees during the honey flow and the bees were strong enough at the right time to store a good surplus for the beekeeper, then the beekeeper has been successful in his/her management skills for the past year.

It is important for the beekeeper to manage the bees all year long, not to start a month before the honey flow begins. Good beekeeping is all about timing. If you want to be successful with your bees, then you need to learn good timing for your area.

Enjoy your bees.

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