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January Beekeeping Tips - 2024

  1. In most years the majority of beekeepers in southern states will begin noticing bees bringing in small amounts of pollen on warm days at the very end of January.

  2. Queens will also begin laying in most areas in mid- to late January. As the population begins to grow, the need for food grows as well.

  3. Continue feeding pollen substitute in soft brick patty or open dry feeding. This will ensure your hive has sufficient food available to continue rearing brood regardless of the constantly changing weather this time of year.

  4. If your hive has less than 30 pounds of excess honey stored, begin feeding small amounts of syrup (1 pint per hive per week) to ensure that the bees have the food necessary to rear brood.

  5. If your hive has three frames of bees or less, join them with another hive using the newspaper method. Kill the queen in the weak hive and remove the lid of the hive you are going to join the old hive with. Place a sheet of newspaper over the hive, then place the box containing the bees from the weaker hive directly on top of the newspaper. Over a period of days, the bees will chew through the newspaper and merge into one hive. This slow method of joining helps prevent fighting between the two hives.

  6. It is perfectly normal at this time of year to notice a few dozen dead bees in front of your hive. This is considered normal as winter bees begin to die off and are replaced by the next generation.

  7. If you have more than 2 mites per 100 bees, treat Varroa mites. Most treatments are extremely effective this time of year when the hive has little to no brood.

  8. Quick (30-second) looks into your hive are acceptable even if the weather is near freezing. Longer, several-minute-long inspections should be reserved for days above 55 degrees.

  9. For climates that stay bitterly cold through January and February, pay very close attention to food stores. Light hives will starve. Feeding sugar bricks or fondant directly over the cluster will help ensure their survival.

  10. Order bees and queens!

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