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Massachusetts Beekeepers Year
The Bees. The queen is surrounded by thousands of her workers. She is in the middle of the bees winter cluster. There is not much activity except on a warm 45-50 degree day. The girls will take cleansing flights. Worker brood may begin to appear in the hive. The bees will start to consume more honey when more brood appears in the hive. The bees may consume 25-30 pounds of honey this month.
The Beekeeper. This is a good time to build or repair your bee equipment. Reading bee books and attending bee club meetings are other winter time activities. It is not recommended to get information online as there is too much misinformation from unreliable sources. On a warm day, you can put a piece of fondant on the frames or granulated sugar on the inner cover for an emergency food source (I use fondant). It is also a good time to order bee packages or nucs.
The Bees. It is very similar to January. The queen will start to lay eggs so the bees will have to raise the temp of the cluster around the brood. The bees will start to consume more stores.
The Beekeeper.This is a good time to build or repair your bee equipment. Reading bee books and attending bee club meetings are other winter time activities. It is not recommended to get information online as there is too much misinformation from unreliable sources. On a warm day, you can put a piece of fondant on the frames or granulated sugar on the inner cover for an emergency food source (I use fondant). It is also a good time to order bee packages or nucs.
The Bees.This is the danger month. Since the days are getting longer, the queen starts to lay more eggs. More brood means more stores consumed. The bees will continue to consume honey stores, feeding brood and heating the hive. If you took care of your bees in the fall, they should have enough stores.
The Beekeeper. If you see the bees flying on a mild day with no wind, you could take a quick peek at the bees and put more fondant if needed. It's best not to remove the frames.
The Bees. The bees begin to bring pollen and nectar into the hive. The queen is laying eggs and the population is growing. The drones will begin to appear.
The Beekeeper. On a warm and still day do your first comprehensive inspection. Can you find evidence of the queen? Are there plenty of eggs and brood? Is there a nice pattern to her egg laying? On a very mild and windless day, you should consider reversing the hive bodies. This will allow for a better distribution of brood, and stimulate the growth of the colony. You can begin to feed the hive medicated syrup. If you are going to do a spring Varroa mite treatment, now is a good time.
The Bees. Now the activity in the hive really gets going. The nectar and pollen should begin to come into the hive thick and fast. The queen will be reaching her greatest rate of egg laying. The hive should be bursting with activity.
The Beekeeper. Spring mite treatments should be completed, and removed prior to adding any honey supers. Add a queen excluder and place honey supers on top of the top deep. Watch out for swarming. Inspect the hive weekly. Attend bee club meetings, workshops and read bee books or the bee magazines.
The Bees. Unswarmed colonies will be boiling with bees. The queen's rate of egg laying may drop a bit this month. The main honey flow should happen this month.
The Beekeeper.Inspect the hive weekly to make certain the hive is healthy and the queen is present. Add honey supers as needed. Keep up swarm inspections. Attend bee club meetings, workshops and read bee books or the bee mags.
The Bees. If the weather is good, the nectar flow may continue this month. On hot and humid nights, you may see a huge curtain of bees cooling themselves on the exterior of the hive.
The Beekeeper. Continue inspections to assure the health of your colony. Add more honey supers if needed. Keep your fingers crossed in anticipation of a great honey harvest.
The Bees. The colony's growth is diminishing. Drones are still around, but outside activity begins to slow down as the nectar flow slows.
The Beekeeper.No more chance of swarming. Watch for honey robbing by wasps or other bees. There is not too much for you to do this month. Have a little holiday.
The Bees.The drones may begin to disappear this month. The hive population is dropping. The queen's her egg laying is dramatically reduced.
The Beekeeper.Harvest your honey crop. Remember to leave the colony with at least 60 pounds of honey for winter. Check for the queen's presence. Feed and medicate towards the end of the month (the first 2 gallons is medicated). Apply mite treatment. Continue feeding until the bees will take no more syrup. Attend bee club meetings.
The Bees. Not much activity from the bees. They are hunkering' down for the winter.
The Beekeeper.Watch out for robbing. Configure the hive for winter, with attention to ventilation and moisture control. Install mouse guard at entrance of hive. Setup a wind break if necessary. Finish winter feeding. Attend bee club meetings.
The Bees. Even less activity this month. The cold weather will send them into a cluster.
The Beekeeper. Store your equipment away for the winter. Attend bee club meetings. Read bee books and magazines.
The Bees.The bees are in a tight cluster for the most part. The Queen lays a small amount of eggs in a small area. On warm days you may see the bees flying outside the hive.
The Beekeeper.There's nothing you can do with the bees. Read a good book on beekeeping, and enjoy the holidays!
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