Monthly Tasks - February
• Bees need food to maintain the brood rearing temperature; this should have been given in Aug/Sept. Once significant brood rearing gets under way early in Feb the bees can consume up to 500gm of food a week. Heft the hives by lifting them at each side (or weigh them with a spring balance) and feed only if necessary. If no pollen is being taken into the hive feed fondant or candy; if pollen is being brought to the hive feed syrup on a 1:1 solution. Feed the hive with candy (which can be made from caster sugar and your honey) or wet sugar bags on top of the cover board (which will need a feed hole) using a spare super box as an eke. For candy recipes see bee books; for fondant look in supermarkets for plain icing fondant – don’t buy anything with additives.
• The bees always need water; this can be provided using a plastic container filled with peat or wood shavings and water, placed 10 m from the hive. An old car tyre laid flat gives a good watering place. Make sure the bees can drink without drowning!
• If there is activity on most hives and no activity in one hive inspect this hive to see if the hive is dead; any hive which has died should be shut down and if possible removed from the apiary.
• If the hive is well provisioned and pollen is going in leave the hive alone.
• Dose each hive with half a tray of apiguard each. Then check for varroa by looking at the tray under the brood box (assuming you have a varroa floor). If you have a solid floor, buy a piece of white laminated hardboard, cut to floor size and insert. This will enable you to count varroa more easily – better still, invest in a ‘varroa’ floor.
• Pollen patties can be given at the end of the month on top of the frames recipes are in most books.
• Volunteer to help at the Apairy during the summer.