BEEKEEPER'S CALENDAR - February
FEBRUARY AND THE BEES:
Sunlight is becoming slightly longer and the longer, more warm days trigger the queen to start laying significantly more eggs. Their cluster has worked its way upward into the top brood chamber. On the colder days, they are behaving similarly as in January.
FEBRUARY AND THE BEEKEEPER:
On a warm day, 50 degrees or more, you can open the top briefly and look in on the hive. Do not remove any frames, as this will chill the brood. Upon inspection you can assess if the colony still has enough stored honey for food. If not, you may want to consider emergency feeding options.
Emergency feeding is just that...an emergency. So do whatever it takes to get some sugar in the hive. Dry sugar will work but only if the bees have warm enough days to fly out for water. There may not be many days warm enough in early Feburary for dry sugar feedings or hard candy feedings. Sometimes sponges soaked in heavy sugar water and jammed between the frames near the cluster will suffice until the weather warms. Do anything you can think of...after all it is better than letting the hive starve to death. Of course, if you have frames of honey available, that's the best way to feed them, but most of us have sold all our honey by now.
You might also consider placing a pollen patty on top of the upper hive body. This will really work well if the end of winter is extremely mild and there are many warm days. Pollen patties stimulate the laying of more eggs. However, if the weather turns cold again, then the bees may not be able to keep this early brood warm and fed. So it is a gamble this early.
Finally, if you did not order your package bees in January, you must do it now (and hope you’re not too late)! And if you did not order your new equipment, hurry! You want all of your hive equipment ready by mid-March.