University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #ENY156

Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar1

James D. Ellis and C.M. Zettel Nalen2

Florida's warm temperatures are very conducive to beekeeping; however, the climate, plant community, and floral resources timing differ significantly between the three main regions in Florida: north Florida, central Florida, and south Florida. North Florida encompasses the panhandle region, down through Alachua, Levy, Putnam, and Flagler counties. Central Florida includes Marion County down through Sarasota County. South Florida encompasses the remaining counties including the Keys.

Several factors influence the flora throughout the state, including annual freezes, average temperature, annual rainfall, and soil composition. Because of these variations, plants that grow well in one region may not grow well in another (Sanford 2003).

While many plants are acceptable pollen producers, very few yield enough nectar to produce a surplus honey crop. Those that do generally are indigenous to Florida and may be in danger of being lost to urbanization. As such, the third column on each chart includes a list of nectar-bearing plants that are present to some degree in each region and the plants' respective bloom times.

The following beekeeper management calendar was created for beekeepers in Florida. It is specific to region (north, central, south Florida), quarter (spring, summer, fall, winter), and month. The calendar includes recommendations for major management considerations like when to treat for parasites or pathogens, and the local flora in bloom at that time. This management calendar is NOT exhaustive. It is meant merely as a reference or starting point for honey bee colony management in Florida. It is important that Florida beekeepers consult their local Cooperative Extension office http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/map/ or Apiary Inspector http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry/Bureaus-and-Services/Office-Locations/Apiary-Inspector-Directory should any specific management questions arise.

Tables

Table 1. 

Management calendar for north Florida

Notes

Month

Management Calendar

Blooming Plants

Nosema can be a problem in north Florida, often in January and February. Monitor closely and treat if needed. Are you moving bees to citrus?

Are you pollinating blueberries?

January

1) Feed colonies if light (colonies can starve!).

2) Nosema can be a significant colony problem this time of year. You can treat colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin. Colonies may need as much as 4 gallons of medicated syrup to control Nosema ceranae.

3) Repair/paint old equipment.

Sand PineF, MapleF, WillowFM

February

1) Feed colonies if light (colonies can starve!).

2) Can treat colonies for Nosema disease as needed using Fumigillin.

PlumM, CherryM, ViburnumM, Sweet CloverM, BlueberryM, HawM, FetterbushM, OakM, Swamp titiM

Attend UF College

March

1) Colony populations begin to grow! Add supers and/or control swarming as necessary.

2) Can treat with Terramycin or Tylan for American foulbrood (AFB) prevention.

3) Make nucs/splits.

Orange, Spanish Needle, Sparkleberry MJ

 

April

1) Disease and queen problems should be remedied.

2) Make splits/nucs—new queens and packages become available.

3) Control swarming

4) Add supers, the primary nectar flow begins this month!

Sweet clover, Wild Blueberry, Haw, FetterbushM, Orange, Spanish NeedleMJ, GalberryM, Dog HobbleMJ, PalmettoMJ, Mexican CloverMJ, BlackberryM, Butter MintMJ,TupeloM, Swamp Galberry, Tuliptree

 

May

1) Continue to inspect for colony maladies, but don't treat for diseases while producing honey.

2) Continue swarm control.

3) Super as necessary.

PalmJ, Gopher AppleJ, Joint WeedJ, Sandhill Prarie CloverJ, Spiderwort/day FlowerJ Partridge PeaJ

 

June

1) Remove and process honey—main flow stops.

2) Varroa populations begin to grow—monitor colonies closely and treat if necessary.

Red Bay, Low Bush Galberry, Chinese Tallow, PalmettoJ, Red Cabbage Palm

 

July

1) Remove and process honey—main flow stops.

2) Varroa populations begin to grow—monitor colonies closely and treat if necessary. Treatment options include: Apiguard, Api lifeVAR, Apistan, Mite Away II, Hopguard and Apivar.

Spanish NeedleAS, Mexican CloverAS, Buttermint, Palm, Gopher Apple, Joint WeedA, RedbayAS, Sandhill Prairie CloverA, Partridge PeaA, Primrose WillowAS, CottonA, Spiderwort/DayflowerAS

 

August

1) Monitor colonies for Varroa (see July)!

2) Treat with Terramycin dust for American foulbrood/European foul brood.

3) Feed colonies if light.

4) Monitor for and control small hive beetles.

5) It's hot! Ensure adequate colony ventilation.

Spotted MintS, GoldenrodS, Vine AsterS, SumacS

 

September

1) Monitor colonies for Varroa (see July)!

2) Consider treating colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin. Colonies may need as much as 4 gallons of medicated syrup to control Nosema cerana.

3) Continue to feed colonies if light.

Smart Weed, Bush Aster

Ensure that colonies have enough food. It can be cold in north Florida during winter.

October - December

1) Varroa populations peaked in Aug/Sept. Monitor Varroa populations closely and treat if necessary. Treatment options include: Apiguard, Api life VAR, Apistan, Mite Away II, Hopguard, and Apivar.

2) Can treat colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin. Colonies may need as much as 4 gallons of medicated syrup to control Nosema cerana.

3) Monitor for and control small hive beetles (options include Checkmite+, GardStar, Hood traps, West Beetle traps, beetle blasters and more).

4) Feed colonies if light (colonies can starve!).

5) Can treat for tracheal mites (mix vegetable oil and powdered sugar until doughy—not sticky to touch; place a pancake-sized patty on top bars of brood chamber).

Oct: Spanish Needle, Mexican CloverN, Primrose WillowN, Spotted MintN, Golden RodN, Vine AsterN, Smart WeedN, Bush AsterND, Wild MustardND

Nov: nothing new blooms

Dec: nothing new blooms

FContinues to bloom in February, MContinues to bloom in March, FMContinues to bloom in Feb and March

MContinues to bloom in May, JContinues to bloom in June, MJContinues to bloom in May and June

AContinues to bloom in August,SContinues to bloom in September, ASContinues to bloom in Aug and Sept

NContinues to bloom in Nov, DContinues to bloom in Dec, NDContinues to bloom in Nov and Dec

Table 2. 

Management calendar for central Florida.

Notes

Month

Management Calendar

Blooming Plants

Citrus blooms in March. Make sure your colonies are ready. Talk with your growers about their pesticide use habits.

January

1) Feed colonies if light (colonies can starve!); also supply pollen supplements if necessary.

2) Nosema can be a significant colony problem this time of year. You can treat colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin. Colonies may need as much as 4 gallons of medicated syrup to control Nosema ceranae.

3) Repair/paint old equipment.

Sand PineF, MapleF, WillowFM

February

1) Feed colonies if light (colonies can starve!).

2) Can treat colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin.

3) Can treat with Terramycin or Tylan for American foulbrood prevention.

PlumM, CherryM, OakM, Walther ViburnumM, Sweet CloverM, BlueberryM, HawM, FetterbushM

March

1) Colony populations begin to grow! Add supers and/or control swarming as necessary.

2) Can treat with Terramycin or Tylan dust for American foulbrood/European foulbrood prevention.

3) Make nucs/splits.

Orange, Spanish Needle

 

April

1) Disease and queen problems should be remedied.

2) Make splits/nucs—new queens available.

3) Control swarming.

4) Add supers, the nectar flow began in late March.

Orange, Sweet clover, Wild Blueberry, Haw, FetterbushM, Spanish NeedleMJ, GalberryM, Dog HobbleMJ, PalmettoMJ, Mexican CloverMJ, Butter MintMJ

 

May

1) Continue to inspect for colony maladies but don't treat for diseases while producing honey.

2) Continue swarm control.

3) Super as necessary.

PalmJ, Gopher AppleJ, Joint WeedJ, Sandhill Prarie CloverJ, Spiderwort/day FlowerJ

 

June

1) Remove and process honey—main flow stops.

2) Varroa populations begin to grow—monitor colonies closely and treat if necessary.

Mangrove, Red Bay, Cabbage Palm

 

July

1) Remove and process honey—main flow stops.

2) Varroa populations begin to grow—monitor colonies closely and treat if necessary. Treatment options include: Apiguard, Api life VAR, Apistan, Mite Away II, Hopguard and Apivar.

Spanish NeedleAS, Palmetto, Mexican CloverAS, Buttermint, Palm, Gopher Apple, Joint WeedA, RedbayAS, Sandhill Prairie CloverA, Partridge PeaA, MangroveA, Primrose WillowAS Spiderwort/DayflowerAS,

 

August

1) Monitor colonies for Varroa (see July)!

2) Treat with Terramycin dust for American foulbrood/European foulbrood.

3) Feed colonies if light.

4) Monitor for and control small hive beetles.

5) It's hot! Ensure adequate colony ventilation.

Spotted MintS, GoldenrodS, Vine AsterS, SumacS

 

September

1) Monitor colonies for Varroa (see July)!

2) Super colonies if strong for B. Pepper flow.

3) Consider treating colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin (see north Florida Sept above).

4) If no nectar flow, feed colonies if light.

Smart Weed, Brazilian Pepper*, Bush Aster

Varroa remain an issue through winter due to warmer temps.

October - December

1) Varroa populations peaked in Aug/Sept. Monitor Varroa populations closely and treat if necessary. Treatment options include: Apiguard, Api life VAR, Apistan, Mite Away II, Hopguard and Apivar.

2) Can treat colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin. Colonies may need as much as 4 gallons of medicated syrup to control Nosema cerana.

3) Monitor for and control small hive beetles (options include Checkmite+, GardStar, Hood traps, West Beetle traps, beetle blasters, and more).

4) Feed colonies if light (colonies can starve!).

5) Can treat for tracheal mites (mix vegetable oil and powdered sugar until doughy, not sticky to touch: place a pancake-sized patty on top bars of brood chamber).

Oct: Spanish Needle, Mexican CloverN, Brazilizn Pepper*, Primrose WillowN, Spotted MintN, Golden RodN, Vine AsterN, Smart WeedN, Bush AsterND

Nov: nothing new blooms

Dec: nothing new blooms

*Brazilian Pepper blooms from September through October and is a significant fall source of nectar for bees.

FContinues to bloom in February, MContinues to bloom in March, FMContinues to bloom in Feb and March

MContinues to bloom in May, JContinues to bloom in June, MJContinues to bloom in May and June

AContinues to bloom in August,SContinues to bloom in September, ASContinues to bloom in Aug and Sept

NContinues to bloom in Nov, DContinues to bloom in Dec, NDContinues to bloom in Nov and Dec

Table 3. 

Management calendar for south Florida.

Notes

Month

Management Calendar

Blooming plants

Varroa numbers begin to grow in south Florida in February. Monitor closely. Are you ready for the Feb citrus bloom? Talk with your growers!

January

1) Feed colonies if light (colonies can starve!) – also supply pollen supplements if necessary.

2) Nosema can be a significant colony problem this time of year. You can treat colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin. Colonies may need as much as 4 gallons of medicated syrup to control Nosema ceranae.

3) Repair/paint old equipment.

Maple, Willow, Spanish NeedleFM, Mexican CloverFM, Primrose WillowFM

February

1) Feed colonies if light (colonies can starve!).

2) Can treat colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin.

3) Can treat with Terramycin or Tylan dust for American foulbrood/European foulbrood.

4) Make nucs/splits.

OrangeM, Sweet cloverM, OakM

March

1) Colony populations begin to grow! Add supers and/or control swarming as necessary.

2) Can treat with Terramycin or Tylan for American foulbrood prevention

Same as above, Mangrove, Seagrape, Buttonwood

 

April

1) Disease and queen problems should be remedied.

2) Make splits/nucs – new queens available.

3) Control swarming.

4) Flow began in March – continue to add supers as necessary.

5) Orange blossom honey can be extracted (late Apr).

OrangeM, Spanish NeedleMJ, GalberryMJ, Mexican CloverMJ, Primrose WillowMJ, Smart WeedMJ, MangroveM, SeagrapeM, ButtonwoodWild CoffeeMJ, Shrubby False Buttonweed M

 

May

1) Continue to remedy colony maladies, especially queen problems.

2) Continue swarm control.

3) Super as necessary.

4) Move bees from orange to other locations.

PalmettoJ, MangroveJ, Seagrape, Buttonwood, Dahoon hollyJ

 

June

1) Super as necessary for late flows.

2) If flow is over, remove and process honey.

3) Varroa populations begin to grow – monitor colonies closely and treat if necessary.

Palm, Melaleuca, Shrubby False Buttonweed JA

 

July

1) Remove and process honey—main flow stops.

2) Varroa populations begin to grow—monitor colonies closely and treat if necessary. Treatment options include: Apiguard, Api life VAR, Apistan, Mite Away II, Hopguard and Apivar.

Spanish NeedleAS, PalmAS, Mexican CloverAS, Primrose WillowAS, Smart WeedAS, MelaleucaAS

Attend S. Fl. Bee College

August

1) Monitor colonies for Varroa (see July)!

2) Treat with Terramycin dust for American foulbrood/European foulbrood.

3) Feed colonies if light.

4) Monitor for and control small hive beetles.

5) It's hot! Ensure adequate colony ventilation

Same as above

 

September

1) Monitor colonies for Varroa (see July)!

2) Super colonies if strong for B. Pepper flow.

3) Consider treating colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin. (see north Florida Sept above).

4) If no nectar flow, feed colonies if light.

Same as above + Brazilian Pepper*, Shrubby False ButtonweedON

Varroa are an important issue in S. Florida in winter because colonies are rarely broodless.

October - December

1) Varroa populations peaked in Aug/Sept. Monitor Varroa populations closely and treat if necessary. Treatment options include: Apiguard, Api life VAR, Apistan, Mite Away II, Hopguard, and Apivar.

2) Can treat colonies for Nosema disease using Fumigillin. Colonies may need as much as 4 gallons of medicated syrup to control Nosema cerana.

3) Monitor for and control small hive beetles (options include Checkmite+, GardStar, Hood traps, West Beetle traps, beetle blasters and more).

4) Feed colonies if light (colonies can starve!).

5) Can treat for tracheal mites (mix vegetable oil and powdered sugar until doughy—not sticky to touch; place a pancake-sized patty on top bars of brood chamber).

Oct: Spanish NeedleND, Mexican CloverND, Brazilian Pepper* Primrose WillowND, Smart Weed, MelaleucaND,

Nov: nothing new blooms

Dec: Maple, Willow

*Brazilian Pepper blooms from September through October and is a significant fall source of nectar for bees.

FContinues to bloom in February, MContinues to bloom in March, FMContinues to bloom in Feb and March

MContinues to bloom in May, JContinues to bloom in June, MJContinues to bloom in May and June

AContinues to bloom in August, SContinues to bloom in September, ASContinues to bloom in Aug and Sept

NContinues to bloom in Nov, DContinues to bloom in Dec, NDContinues to bloom in Nov and Dec

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENY156, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date: May 2010. Revised November 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

James D. Ellis, assistant professor, and C. M. Zettel Nalen, Extension assistant, Entomology & Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.