University of Missouri Extension

G7601, Revised March 2016

Seasonal Apiary Management for Missouri

Moneen M. Jones, Research Entomologist, Division of Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

This guide describes a management program for setting up and maintaining beehives to foster healthy bees and produce surplus honey for personal use or to sell. Suggested timelines are subject to changes in weather patterns and can fluctuate as much as 30 days.

Bee inspection and diagnosis

Missouri Apiculture Law (Chapter 264, Missouri Revised Statutes) provides for inspection of honey bees upon request. Out-of-state beekeepers are required to have inspections done before bringing honey bees or equipment into Missouri. Contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Plant Industries Division, Plant Pest Control Program at 573-751-5505.

Samples of bees for diagnosis can be sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory in Maryland. Submission instructions can be found online.

For more beekeeping information — including general hive assembly instructions, disease and pest identification and control tips, and a beekeeping glossary — consult MU Extension publication G7600, Beekeeping Tips for Beginners.

First year — Establishing your hives

The four phases of apiary management during the first year are planning and construction, apiary setup, colony establishment, and winterizing. Honey production is not expected but is possible during the first year.

Planning and construction: November through February

Apiary setup: March and April

Colony establishment: May through August

Winterizing: September and October

Second year — Managing for honey production

The four phases of apiary management during the second year are education, planning and construction; spring brood build-up; honey production and disease and pest monitoring; and winterizing.

Several factors affect honey production, but annual average honey harvests can range from 40 to 80 pounds per hive. Some hives located in nectar-rich environments, such as urban areas, have reported harvests of as much as 200 pounds per hive during a good year.

Education, planning and construction: November through February

Spring brood build-up: March and April

Honey production and disease and pest monitoring: May through August

Winterizing: September and October

Third year and beyond — Managing for honey production

The main difference between year two and the following years is that complete replacement of frames and foundations is recommended every three to five years. Destroy any damaged foundations and frames during spring and prewinter hive inspections.

Table 1
Flowering periods for Missouri honey plants.

Honey plant February March April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct.
Alfalfa   XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX        
Aster           XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX
Basswood       XXXX XXXX        
Birdsfoot trefoil     XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX
Brambles       XXXX XXXX        
Brassicas       XXXX XXXX        
Buckthorn     XXXX XXXX XXXX        
Clover       XXXX XXXX        
Cotton           XXXX XXXX XXXX  
Cucurbits         XXXX XXXX XXXX    
Dandelion   XXXX XXXX XXXX          
Elm   XXXX XXXX            
Fruit trees     XXXX XXXX          
Goldenrod           XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX
Hawthorn     XXXX XXXX          
Honeysuckle     XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX      
Locust       XXXX XXXX        
Maple XX XXXX XXXX XXXX          
Milkweed       XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX    
Persimmon       XXXX          
Poplar   XX XXXX XXXX          
Privet       XXXX XXXX        
Redbud     XXXX            
Soybean           XXXX XXXX XXXX  
Sumac   XX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX    
Sunflower         XXXX XXXX XXXX    
Tulip poplar       XXXX XXXX        
Vetch       XXXX XXXX        
Willow XX XXXX XXXX XXXX XX        
Notes
X = one week

 

Original author
Raymond A. Nabors
G7601 Seasonal Apiary Management for Missouri | University of Missouri Extension

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