It is a steady pace, bees are roaring, new bees are humming with orientation flights and Drones are on the hunt. This is when swarming is at an all time high. Swarming generally occurs right before the heavy "honey flow". Drones are fully mature for mating and Queen Cells are hatching, love is in the air. Over-crowded hives need more room so additional equipment should be placed on top of these hives to allow space for brood rearing and honey storage. The honey flow has started when the bees are coming in heavy. This is noticable by the dip that the workers make upon entering the hive entrance. They are carrying in fresh nectar to process into honey.
• Watch for swarms
• Catch the swarms
• Watch for full boxes and keep adding empty boxes
• Have additional equipment ready to house more swarms
This is the critical time for starvation. The young bees are hatching daily and the size of the colony increases by hundreds if not thousands per day. The worker bees are beggining to forage and drones begin to appear. As the days grow longer, the Queen increases her rate of egg production and colonieswishing to swarm may start to raise swarm cells and colonies with failing queens may start supersedure cells. These will hatch in 16 days. Weather permitting, a few early swarms could occur in March. Food stores are being consumed at a rapid rate. Natural Pollen is coming in rapidly but cold, windy weather can affect nectar sources so a close watch on food stores is critical.
- Check honey Stores
- Re-Queen failing Queens
- Make sure all medications are removed as specified on label
- When hive body is full of bees add Honey super
- Attend Bee Meetings
- Update "Bloom Calendar"
The Queen still remains in the cluster and as the days become milder she begins to lay more eggs. The previous protien (Pollen Patty) is used to feed young larva. These bees will hatch out of the cell in 21 days. When young bees are being raised and days are warm the bees will consume more food. At this time, the cluster will begin to grow in size. A Varroa Mite, Fouldbrood inspection should be done and a proper evaluation of "Queen activity". By Mid February, you should see bees carrying natural pollen into the hive. When this occurs, the Queen will also begin to lay drone Eggs (unfertile eggs) these drones will hatch in 24 days.
- Check food stores (pollen and honey)
- Treat for Varroa Mites or Foulbrood if needed
- Begin a "Bloom Calendar" to document pollen and nectar
- Attend Bee Meetings
- Assemble equipment
- Order Queens
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