What are the bees doing in January and February in our geography?
LATE FALL / WINTER
November - December - January - February
Some colonies will have drastically reduced any brood rearing. Depending on weather and race, others may continue with more than a frame or 2 of brood while others may be drastically reduced to near nothing. Generally, towards the end of December, bee colonies rely on fall (September/October) nectar sources for over-wintering. The aging process of worker bees is suspended by a few months, allowing them to live longer over the fall and winter months.
Wintering success depends on many factors:
While it may be sub-freezing outside, workers in the colony cluster are generating heat, keeping the hive anywhere from the low 60'sF to low 90'sF when brood-rearing commences, dependent on lengthening day-light hours.
It's a time to get excited for the new season. The first blooms of the new year in our area are the Silver Maples. In 2015, the first recorded bloom was on January 26 in Merriam, Kansas. In 2016, it was on Friday, January 29th. Of course, it was an El Ninÿo year. It was observed on December 15th, 2016, that bees were still bring in pollen. Amazing out there!
The Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers' Assn provides a monthly newsletter that is informational, educational, and fun! Click on the links at the side to view "The Bee Buzzer" newsletter.
This is how we announce our meetings, topics, locations, and timely advice.
Celebrate the honey season by sending chocolate to the editor: Not really!—she doesn’t need it. However, she does need your pictures and stories of success to share with readers, along with pictures and stories of what went terribly wrong to help us all better keep bees. Email them to our editor, Joli Winer, and thanks in advance.
Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers Association
Contact US by email: beekeepers@NEKBA.org
Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers
August - September - October
Honey bee colonies rely on fall nectar sources for over-wintering. The last flowers die with onset of 1st heavy frost and freeze. Generally, any summer honey to be harvested should be pulled by the Labor Day holiday. This does couple of things in preparing the colony in your hive for winter. It packs the brood boxes with bees, and concentrates the protection of the colony with bee, making the bees place food stores of pollen and nectar in, around, and above the brood nest area. Keep in mind, nectar is the bees real food. Nectar is converted into honey for their long-term storage - winter food!
September is the normal time to help your colony prepare for the long-haul of winter. Make sure your bees have the best chance by knowing and checking your mite load and food stores. Mother Nature plays no favorites. Fall can be a difficult time to correct any problems that may have been discovered too late.