When is the Best Time of Year to Start a Beehive?

The best time of the year to start beekeeping depends on the life cycle of a colony. Just like individual bees go through a period of growth and reproduction, so does a colony, which is a superorganism.

For the beekeeper, the ideal time to get a colony is when colonies are naturally reproducing, known as swarming. The time of the year this occurs varies in different parts of the world, but it is characterized by the same thing, which is resource availability.

The best time of year to start a beehive is in the early spring when bees thrive due to the warmer weather and abundant blooming flowers. Fall also provides flowers and mild weather. However, rather than split up, the colony is preparing for winter. It’s all hands on deck so the colony stays together. In tropical areas, bees swarm multiple times a year. Therefore, beekeepers have several opportunities within the year to start a beehive.

Best Time of Year to Start a Beehive

When it comes to beekeeping, the beginning of the project depends on how you source your first colony. If you are relying on package bees, they may arrive toward the beginning of summer, depending on demand. If you receive the bees in early spring, you have less pressure to provide food. The later they arrive, the more help they’ll need.

If your first colony is an established nuc or hive, they have a higher chance of survival. Even though spring offers the best natural resources, it is possible to supplement their feed if the colony doesn’t have enough nectar. If you receive the bees in the summer, the hive or nuc may have enough honey to get them to the fall nectar flow.

 It’s essential to ensure that bees have the necessary resources and conditions to grow and thrive. 

In the tropics, the best time to begin a beehive coincides with swarming seasons. These usually happen before the rains. They do not endure winter but rather have dry and rainy seasons with narrow temperature fluctuations.

Factors Affecting Beehive Success

While spring is the ideal time to start a beehive, some factors can affect the success of your beekeeping endeavor. These include:

  • Weather conditions: Cold or unpredictable weather can impact the bees’ ability to forage and grow.
  • Availability of flowers: A higher availability of diverse flowering plants throughout the season boosts the chances of beehive success and ensures the bees have enough resources.


The best time of year to start a beehive is during the spring season. This period allows the bees to thrive due to warmer weather and abundant blooming flowers. It’s essential to plan well and set up your hive as soon as temperatures increase and flowers begin to bloom.

When preparing to start your beehive, order your bees early, in December. Some suppliers recommend even earlier, such as summer the year before you intend to keep the bees. The bees will still arrive in March or April, depending on how the supplier’s bees get through the winter. Bees usually forage when outside temperatures are above 16°C/61°F, and it’s not raining.

The most important part is to be prepared for the bees whenever they arrive. Stock up on sugar and have your equipment ready. When the bees arrive, you’ll have a lot of work to do to get them through their first year.

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