Bees need food to maintain the brood rearing temperature; this should have been given
in Aug/Sept. Once 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. 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. You can also feed with a jar of your own granulated honey
turned upside down over the frames Candy can also be made by heating a strong sugar
solution to 115°C but do not overheat and burn the syrup (see bee books for method).
The bees will need water close to the hive; this can be given with 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.
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.
Check for varroa by looking at the tray under the brood box (assuming you have a
varroa floor) and if there are lots of varroa spray the bee frames with a 15% lactic
Pollen patties can be given at the end of the month on top of the frames.
For those beekeepers with solid floors think about replacing them with clean floors
at the end of the month.