Well, here we are in late February, and we are halfway through our annual Beginning Beekeeping Course (BBC). We couldn't pull the course off without our amazing member volunteers who serve in the role of Ambassador, Mentor, Field Day Host, and everything in between... So many of you help at the course and behind the scenes - thank you for volunteering and helping to start the new folks off right!
The month of February poses the greatest risk for our colonies to starve - it's just a wee bit too early for any sustainable break in temperatures and of course, nothing is really blooming yet. That means that we need to pull out the stops to ensure that the girls have something to consume so they don't starve out - especially if they have moved to the top box.
You can't overdo at this time of year, so here are a few suggestions for you to consider. Whatever you do, make it quick... you don't want to have a colony open for more than a couple of minutes when temperatures are under 55 degrees F. I lift the box above the bees just enough to shove in the food to minimize the time open. Give your girls some lovin' by providing any combination of:
Fondant - put on much as you can directly on top of the cluster and the top box. Stuff some in between the frames on the outmost sides of the cluster, too.
Candy boards - put a whole inner cover's worth on the top box. I also make thinner rounds using paper plates to place on top of the cluster for insurance. When making candy boards or rounds, add in pollen patties to serve up in February.
Sugar - put on 'straight' sugar as a last resort for emergency feeding.
Pollen patties - the Queen is laying and the girls are raising brood now, so be sure to provide some pollen patties. Drop pieces into the candy boards when you make them and/or place the patties next to the fondant.
Sure do hope to see you soon!