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. 

What are the bees doing in January and February in our geography?


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:

  • Adequate Honey Stores 
  • Adequate Pollen Stores
  • Clustering Behavior
  • Overall Colony Health
  • Population Size

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. 

  • In general, disturb your bee colony as little as possible this month.
  • Keep entrances clear of dead bees. It's natural for older bees to die under stress of cold.
  • Heft your colony to judge it's weight--too little and the colony would need to be feed to survive.
  • Mouse guards in the form of entrance reducers should have been put on in the fall. Make sure they're in place.
  • Check the colony periodically on warm days to keep the entrance clear, and make sure the bees are flying.
  • Bees will fly on sunny days, when the temperature exceeds the low 50's, and wind gusts are minimal.

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.

What should you look for and be doing....

     From the January NEKBA Bee Buzzer 
tips for january 2016
  •  Begin your recordkeeping for 2016; calendars are already 1⁄2 price so get one that you can write on. Vow to keep track of when different plants bloom in your area, if you fed, how your bees did, if you replaced any equipment etc.
  •   Check a beekeeping book out of the library— bring back any books that you have checked out
  •   Build or repair any equipment
  •   Renew your membership, send in your dues—you can do it online now by going to
  •   Order your queens and package bees as soon as possible
  •   Check the lids on your hives; make sure they have a heavy rock or a cement block on top.  We have had some fierce winds this winter.
  •   Plan next year’s garden to include some nectar producing plants that have not been treated with neonicitinoids.
  •   As we go into the New Year think of all the friends you have made at the beekeepers meetings.
  •   Plan to attend at the Kansas Honey Producers meeting in Pittsburg KS on March 4th & 5th—excellent program for both beginners and more experienced beekeepers—details at
  •   Bring at least one new beekeeper or prospective beekeeper to a meeting and get them to come to our new beekeeper class— Dr. Diana Sammataro will be our guest the first Sunday, March 6th! ​

Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers Association
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Tips and hints