How to Successfully Manage Your Bees in the January Cold?
It is the beginning of a new year and while your bees may not have any New Years resolutions, what are your goals for your hives? January in Texas is often quite mild. Temperatures will reach the mid 60's during the day all the way to the low 20's at night. While the warmer temperatures are good, allowing the bees to forage a little and take cleansing flights, there is a danger. The warm air will cause the bees to be more active, consuming more food. A hive can starve very quickly in this type of weather.
Please remember that beekeeping is entirely regional. However, beekeeping management is similar during the different seasons of the year regardless of location. This month's tips are for the beekeepers who are experiencing temperatures up to 66º Fahrenheit during the day and 22º-45º during the night. For Texas this is January, for other states this could be October. Spring, summer, and winter also vary in lengths depending on the location. An overview of a seasonal beekeeper's year can be found here. https://www.timbercreekapiaries.com/post/grow-your-blog-community
1. Check hives at least least twice a month for food stores. The fluctuations in temperatures can cause hives to eat through their food stores much more quickly than usual.
2. Feeding pollen will help them begin to build up for spring. Pollen patties can be placed inside the hives and dry pollen can be fed in the apiary.
3. Order Nucs and queens as they usually sell out early!
4. Build and repair equipment for the busy months ahead.
5. If your hives have very little brood due to a cold snap, it may be a good idea to treat with Oxalic Acid, as it is most effective when there is not very much brood. Oxalic acid is a natural treatment that kills the varroa mite-One of the leading causes for the death of hives. Be careful though, check your local weather. If you are going to use a dribble method you do not want to do it during a below 50 as it can chill your bees.
6. If you have comb stored check to make sure wax moths are not going to town on it! Those little monsters can quickly destroy a box of wax!