Going away over the summer? Here’s a handy holiday beekeeping checklist to keep in mind.
It’s summer – and your bees are very busy. It’s also that time of year where you might be going away for a few days or even a few weeks (lucky you!). Your bees can usually look after themselves for some time, but there are few things you may want to keep in mind. While much of this is common sense, there are plenty of beginners out there too. So we decided to create this handy checklist for backyard beekeepers going away on holiday:
1. Take note of the weather forecast at home, not only in your holiday location!
As for or unpredictable or extreme weather, ideally your hive should already be located somewhere that can withstand it.
2. Make sure there is a water source reliable enough not to disappear in extreme heat.
Bees need water, not just nectar and pollen. Being close to water also keeps things a little cooler for them.
3. If you don’t have irrigation, consider if you need someone to water your garden to keep it blooming.
Make sure there are plenty of healthy flowers close at hand for your bees to collect from. If there’s already a lack of food resources, consider installing a bee feeder.
4. Make sure your fences are truly pet and (if applicable) livestock proof.
Animals can become more cunning with no people about. Even cows like honey and can do a lot of damage, especially if they’re being attacked by a swarm of angry bees!
5. If you haven’t recently, check if your hive is getting full of bees. Are there queen cells?
If the hive is crowded and the workers are preparing queen cells then the current queen may be about to leave with a swarm.
6. If a swarm is a possibility, take preventative action before you leave.
Can you add an extra super with frames to provide more space, or split the hive before your go? Ask a neighbour to keep an eye out in case there is still a swarm while you are away. Provide them with a contact for swarm removal.
7. Even if swarming seems unlikely, determine if your bees still need more space added before you leave.
8. If you have any other concerns, consider organising someone to check in on your hive while you’re away.
Your worker bees run a tight operation, but a few considerations can provide a little extra support in their busiest season. Even while you’re away on holiday!