Winter Seasonal Notes

January

  • Periodically heft the hives to assess the stores and feed fondant if necessary, avoid moving the crown board by using an eke or empty super if needed.
  • Buy and build any equipment for the coming year and paint and repair any spare equipment. [Keep an eye on sales from suppliers.]
  • Attend any Association meetings. Listen to any speakers and more experienced beekeepers to swap ideas and gain information.
  • Prepare a book or sheets for hive records.

February

  • The days will now be noticeably longer, and brood rearing should be under way.
  • Do not open any hives this month
  • Continue to heft and feed the hives as necessary.
  • Ensure the hives have not been affected by the weather and repair and reinstate as needed.
  • Continue to use the time to plan for the upcoming season and build up equipment.
  • Continue to monitor the hive entrance for activity and for pollen being collected.
  • The forage for February is much as January but with more spring bulbs starting to produce nectar in small amounts

March

  • Usually, March is the start of the warmer part of the year but
  •  never open the hives unless it is ‘shirt sleeves’ weather.
  •  If there is anything wrong with the bees there is nothing that can be done now until April/May except for feeding them. Monitor the entrance as usual to see how the bees are behaving.
  • Continue to heft and feed the hives as necessary.
  • Check for pollen being taken into the hive.
  • If the hive is inspected, do not disturb the brood nest. Quickly check for any sign of disease (odour or faeces in the hive), stores and bees.
  • Close up hives that have perished in the winter. [Remove from the apiary clean and sterilise.]
  • Inspect the bottom board for varroa drop.
  • Flowering now are blackthorn, willow and gorse, with the start of the dandelion.

 

image credit:
Bee Hives at St Johns after a snow flurry.
hives at winter5 by Matt https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattx27/