BEEKEEPER'S CALENDAR - January
JANUARY AND THE BEES:
The bees are in a tight cluster staying warm and consuming very little food early in the month. On days when the wind is calm and the temperature rises near 50 degrees, you'll probably see a few bees flying out taking a cleansing flight. Since bees do not go to the bathroom inside their hive, they fly out on warm days and this is called a cleansing flight. Winter bees live a little longer than summer bees, but remember, bees live short lives. Many of your bees will die during the winter, just from old age. When bees die during the winter, they fall to the bottom of the hive. In the summer, dead bees are immediately carried outside the hive by their sisters. But, in the winter, when the hive is clustered, the dead bees accumulate on the bottom board. On warm days, other bees might drag out their dead sisters. If snow covers the ground, you will notice more dead bees around your hives. This is normal. Don't panic! It is a sign of a strong hive when they drag out dead bees. But, if you don't see anything, don't panic either. It just means they will probably do this later on.
ANUARY AND THE BEEKEEPER:
Monitor your hives to make sure winter winds have not disturbed the tops. Also, make sure that if it snows, that the openings are cleared of snow so that the bees can continue to get enough air, and move freely in and out of the entrance on warm days.
URGENT!! ORDER YOUR BEES AND EQUIPMENT IN JANUARY
Many bee suppliers will completely sell out of package bees by the end of January. You must call and place your bee order as soon as you can during the first week of January. Otherwise, you may not be able to secure your bee purchases for the new year. Those who will be ordering your bees from package producers, the package producers will typically be prepared to take your orders for package bees and nucs beginning late fall and may be completely booked by the end of January. Call early!
Make sure you join and attend your local beekeeping club, read up on beekeeping, and clean up your smoker and hive tool.