Updated: Feb 10
Bees in February under a "bee beanie" check out the video
The Days are slowly getting longer as spring creeps up on us. There isn't a lot you can do in February as it's still pretty cold. I do keep my Bee Beanie on and replace the fondant patty as required during the month. It's my way to insure they have plenty of food in the hive during this time. Remember you can peek under the top of your hive on the nice days (I like 40 degrees or warmer) to see if they need additional fondant patties.
Towards the end of the month between Presidents day and the 1st of March here in Northern Utah (will vary depending on where you live) on the sunny days the temperature gets above 45 degrees. The bees will start flying and will be looking for pollen to bring back to the hive. This is the trigger for the hive to start brooding up (Spring Build up blog link)
It's also when they will consume a lot of honey trying to ramp up the temperature inside the hive to a constant 93 degrees (F) to be able to raise brood. If they are light on supplies (honey and pollen) It will slow down brood production. They will only allow the queen to lay what they can take care of.
It's around this time that I will start feeding liquid syrup again and putting substitute pollen patties in the hive (here in Utah). This is optional. You can let the hive grow as they are able to find and bring back pollen on their own.. You can let the hive naturally build up as resources are found. But I want my hives to be strong and robust come the first of April when our spring bloom usually starts. By putting these resources in the hive, the queen will lay more vigorously and lay a larger brood nest. It is important then that once you start this practice of stimulate feeding not to stop until they are finding copious amounts of pollen on their own in the wild. If the days are cold and rainy like last year, it will hamper the bee's ability to fly and forage. If I have put these resources in the hive, they can continue growing no matter what the weather outside is.
So before the end of the month gets close, I take inventory of my supplies and make sure I have some sugar syrup 1:1 or 2:1 on hand, or pollen patties if you choose to use them. We do sell prepared pollen patties and syrup.
In Utah the State Beekeepers Convention happens in February (Feb 21-22, 2020). I've never been disappointed in what I learn there. I've attended every year since I started Beekeeping, and If you can make the time it's well worth it. There are other back yard beekeepers and the elusive Commercial beekeepers that have been working hard to keep healthy, vibrant bees for generations. I hear some hobbyists who turn their nose up the profit driven commercial beekeeper, but I've found just the opposite and learned a lot of my beekeeping knowledge and gained valuable experience listening and working along side them. I would gain more experience in one day working with them (looking into a 100 hives in a day) than working my couple of hives for 3 to 4 years. They care about sustainable practices and hive health just like the backyard hobbyist.
Read and learn from anyone with experience (5+ years). You'll find them using sound proven practices if they are being successful. Ask them how many hives they have kept alive over the last 2-3 years. Listen nicely to everyone who is willing to share their experience in Beekeeping. But follow those who are seeing good results year after year. Your welcome to email or call me if your interested in asking about our results.
Next month things get exciting! Sign up for our "Tips and Tricks" join the Colony (see bottom of every page on our website)