It has been a much milder 2017-2018 winter so far.  The honeybees have had a few days of flight lately.  They have been able to bring in some pollen.  This will help stimulate the queen to lay more eggs as she now knows that spring is on the way.  If the bees are flying, get into the hive and check the food stores.  If it is to cold to get into the hive, lift the back of the hive to feel if it is heavy or light.  This is where it takes some experience to know what is to light.  If they are light on stores, feed some emergency feed which could be fondant or dry granulated sugar.  One half dry granulated sugar and one half drivert sugar makes a good emergency feed.  Place this feed on the top bars of the top box.  You can pour it onto a piece of wax paper or pour it on a protein patty.  If you have any frames of honey from dead-outs, that can be put into the hive for feed.  Honey is always the best food.  Hopefully they have enough honey and you won’t have to feed.  Feeding early just gets them to brood up early and then swarm before the main honey flow.  Of course if you want to make early splits, feed away.  Just don’t get yourself in a spot where a hive starves to death.  That never feels good.

Now is a good time to provide the hives with protein patties.

With a smaller amount of brood in the hives, now is a good time to do a mite treatment.  Of course, none of the products that rely on a vapor are going to work.  It’s to cold.  Only products using a contact method will work right now.  Depending on how much brood there is, oxalic acid (dribble method) may still be effective.

Move any dead-outs under cover, so the boxes can dry out.

Check the apiary after any wind storms.

Order packages or nucs before they are gone.

Prepare to keep good records of your colonies this year.  “Pale ink is more vivid than the clearest memory,” 1989 Territorial Seed Catalog.


American Hazelnut, Snow Crocus, Crocus, Paperwhites, Camellia, Hazelnut (about done), heath (heather blooms in mid-summer), Hellebore, Oregon Grape, Winter Jasmine, and Daffodils are heading out.

Copyright 2018 – Richard Farrier – All rights reserved