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Bees Settling In

Just set up our hive last week in Northern Alberta. We are more hobbyists than beekeepers. Got some good advice from this forum on getting the hive ready and bees moved in. They moved in to the hive and seem settled.

We are not sure of the “seasons”, when to feed, when to harvest, etc. Should we let them build up their supply for this summer, and try harvesting in the fall? How would we know how often and when to harvest?

We did feed for the first couple of days.

Thank You,
Grace and Jim

Forget about the harvest for now. With a new hive it needs to build up and get strong for the next winter. If it comes from a package then feeding is essential but if it came from a swarm then you only have to feed as necessary. If they have no stored honey or nectar then feed them till it comes out their eyes. When they start storing the excess then backoff. If you overfeed they will backfill the brood nest and the queen will have nowhere to lay. Its a balancing act.

Once you get them good and strong then they will bring in nectar and pollen and hopefully produce a surplus you can harvest.

I am quite conservative in my beekeeping. There is an old saying that you don’t get honey from a first year hive. This is often true but it won’t stop you from pinching a little bit later to try :sunglasses:


Find a local bee keeper club, they will be your best source for how to manage your hive in your local climate.
Generally you should only aim for a taste of honey at the end of your first fall, the bees need to build up stores for them to eat over winter, if they don’t have enough stores the colony will die from starvation over winter.
Welcome to the forum, there is a lot of help here and it is well worth looking through past Q&A as well as asking for help.

There is also a plethora of information on this forum. Beekeepers from all over the world and experience from the complete beginner to those that have been doing this for decades. Read as much as you can, find a local club/mentor, and ask questions. The one thing I will say is that you have to dive and do it. Look for eggs when you do inspections. Try to find the queen. Not always will you find the queen but if you see new eggs and young larvae you will know she is in there and doing her job. It took me a few months into my first year till I was confident in finding eggs and the queen. I would compare it to riding a bike. The more you do it the better you will get at it.

If you search this forum on each of the topics you asked questions there will be plenty of threads to read and make a decision on. Your climate, geographical location, and your bees will all have a part in what happens. Learn what your bees are doing the best you can and go from there. If something doesn’t seem right ask a question. Try and get comfortable taking pictures during your inspections too. They definitely help in diagnosing what is going on as well. Welcome!