The ability of a colony of honeybees to produce a good harvest of honey during the summer season is dependent upon its survival in good shape through the winter and upon its growth in strength during the spring. In this sense, therefore, the beekeeping year can be said to begin in the autumn with the preparation of the bees for the winter.
In order to survive through the winter and into the spring period of growth, a colony must be queen-right and healthy; it must have an ample supply of suitable food in the combs; and must be housed in a hive that provides good protection against the weather and freedom from disturbance by other external factors.
The steps necessary to ensure that these conditions are satisfied should be planned soon after the honey crop has been removed in August. They should be completed by the end of September or early in October.
The four main items requiring attention are the re-queening of colonies having old or unsatisfactory queens, feeding, making the hive entrances mouse proof, and the securing of the hives to withstand the hazards likely to be encountered during the winter months.