Here is what to expect in and around the hive in February.
In the hive
The bees are still clustered, perhaps breaking away for brief cleansing flights on the warmest days. The cluster has likely moved up to the top of the hive. The queen begins or continues to lay a small number of eggs. Nutritional needs increase and the risk of starvation rises.
- When inspecting a colony in the winter, it is not necessary to open it. See the January guidelines for evaluating its health. Consider renting the club infrared camera to see where the cluster is located in the hive.
- Colonies are at a higher risk of starvation as the winter progresses. Depending on a number of factors (winter weather, fall stores), the bees’ food stores could be running low, since they do not ration their food. Feed them if the hive is light or the stores obviously empty, or if the bees are visible through the inner cover at the very top of the hive. Use dry sugar or a candy board. Some beekeepers feed their bees pollen patties at this time to stimulate and support brood rearing.
- Finish fixing, cleaning/sterilizing, buying, assembling, or painting equipment as needed.
- As in January, ensure that the hive cover is properly secured, check for animal pests, remove ice blocking the entrance, and don’t worry about a few dead bees on the snow outside the hive.
- Don’t forget to renew your club membership and to get the upcoming year’s meetings on your calendar.