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When is the right time to start a brand-new beehive?

When is the right time to start a brand-new beehive?

Posted by Christy Hemenway on Feb 14th 2020

Honey bees and beekeeping are of global concern, but they are intensely local at the same time. Because of this, one of the most important things to learn when you are thinking of becoming a beekeeper is completely location-specific, as in “When is the appropriate time to start a bee hive IN MY AREA?”

The answer to this question is dependent upon the kind of weather your area experiences. The local weather dictates the blooming of the local plant life – in other words, food for your honey bees! If there are no trees or flowers in bloom, there will be nothing for your bees to eat.

Most gardeners relate to this question by knowing what Hardiness Zone they live in, and the average last frost date in their locale. Beekeepers need to know too! Most of us probably did not aspire to become meteorologists when we got interested in beekeeping, but it really helps if you keep a “weather-eye” on the climate where your bees are.

You can enter your zip code to find your USDA Hardiness zone, or drill down by clicking: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/InteractiveMap.aspx

And you can get a pretty good idea of the last frost date for your zip code here:
https://www.almanac.com/gardening/frostdates

When you’re trying to decide exactly when to get started, consider the last frost date to choose a ship date when looking for honey bees for sale. Try to buy package honey bees for delivery on or just after the average last frost date for where you will be starting the bee hive. That way there will be nectar and pollen available in the area, and your honey bees will not be completely dependent upon supplemental feeding of sugar syrup.