The month of February brings many changes to our bees, making February Beekeeping more exciting than January. Believe it or not, pollen will start coming in this month.In 2016, we received our first pollen reports on February 11th. These pollens are tree pollens, with silver maple being one of the earliest pollen sources.
With the fresh pollen source suddenly available, brood-rearing takes off. More brood rearing means your bees are consuming more pollen and honey. Your colony may not have used much of their winter stores up to this point, but that will change significantly this month.
February is a good month to consider ordering your bees. At this time, most vendors have bees available, so you choose your supplier, whether you want packages or nucs, and what race of bees you want. If you would like our recommendation about what bees may be best for you, please contact us.
Second-year and beyond
If you are not sure you left adequate stored food to get them through until spring, then you should monitor your hives closely. You can choose one of a few methods to check food levels in your hive. These options include “the heft test,” a hive scale, and others.
If you want to increase your bee population at this time, you could consider adding a pollen substitute. Adding protein can help ensure your maximum bee population in preparation for the honey flow. Swarming and additional use of honey stores are the possible downsides of this management technique.
Varroa mite management
Because there will be more brood present, and the temperatures are still low, there are not any good choices for varroa mite treatments in February. It’s also typically too cold to monitor mite levels. If you’ve been diligent about mite control, then you can take this month off in your mite management program.