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It is not too late to do the throughout the month. taking cleansing flights or On a fine sunny day with your
cleaning now but the best starting to forage for pollen. veil on, gently remove theOn fine sunny days bees
time is as soon as possible woodpecker guard, roof andwill fly out of the hive for ENOUGH FOOD?
after the equipment is taken coverboard. This may becleansing flights and later in enough to reassure you. If
out of use. General the month to collect water If your colonies were necessary you can remove
cleanliness and hygiene of to dilute stores. Towards the provided with 15 kg or more frames near the wall without
equipment and the storage end of the month we can of stores in the autumn, disturbing the cluster.
area are essential ingredients experience one of the many there should still be plenty
in maintaining colony health If you find the bees arejoys of beekeeping when we in the hive. The bees
and well-being. dead ask your mentor orsee bees collecting pollen consume only very small
experienced beekeeper forfrom winter flowers such as amounts of stores when
JANUARY advice. Most winter losseshellebores and Mahonia. brood rearing is minimal
occur in the early spring.At first glance, a beehive in until the end of December
JOBS There are several possibleJanuary appears lifeless but but brood rearing and causes, some beyond the
there is a lot of interesting January is probably the consumption of stores control of the beekeeper.
activity going on inside the month when there is the increases during January. During the coming year I
hive. During cold weather minimum of work directly If you are worried you could will do my best to draw
the bees form a cluster. with the bees and therefore check by ‘hefting’ the hive. your attention to all the
Within the cluster the bees it is a good month to start This is gently lifting one things we can do to help
near the stores consume studying and planning for side off the stand to feel our fascinating, amazing,
honey and convert this to the spring. wonderful bees to thrive.the weight. You need
heat energy by vibrating the If you have bees already, experience to know if the I wish you all a happy and
flight muscles in their have a look at the hives weight you feel indicates successful year and an
thoraces (shivering). every couple of weeks and there are enough stores in enjoyable experience
The bees in the middle of after stormy weather, to the hive. Your mentor or learning about bees and
the cluster generate the heat make sure that the hives experienced beekeeper beekeeping.
and those on the outer layers are intact with roofs secure. friend can help.
form the insulation. There is a Check that there are no If you are still concerned
constant gentle movement of signs of woodpecker attack, about inadequate stores
bees taking their turn as heat that mouseguards have not you can add some extra
generators and insulators. The been disturbed and that the food. Some beekeepers
cluster expands or contracts to apiary fencing is secure. feed bees with candy or
maintain the cluster I have experienced bakers’ fondant around
temperature when the ambient over-wintered nucleus boxes Christmas time. See the
temperature varies. So the (half-sized hives) being article on page 29 for more
bees regulate the temperature pushed over by badgers details.
within the cluster, not the with the loss of two combs
temperature in the hive. of food and some bees. The Do not feed sugar syrup as
weakened stock and queen this may cause someSTORES ARE USED UP
survived after being excitement and disturb the John Williams is a Master
reinstalled. Cattle, sheep or cluster. Emergency feeding Beekeeper who maintainsThroughout the autumn the
deer breaking into the is usually not needed in about 20 colonies at homequeen's egg laying will have and at an out-apiary. The
apiary can cause mayhem! January but is sometimesdwindled to a minimum. honey is sold at local shops
needed in March or April. During December there may Clear the hive entrance if it is and the National Trust at
have been a short blocked by snow. Check that Chartwell. DO NOT DISTURB!
broodless period. The the entrance is not blocked He raises queens from
increasing length of January by debris or dead bees. There is always a temptation April to October. He keepsone observation hive for
days helps to trigger to have a quick look in theDuring January many local events and another for
increased egg laying. hive but it is best not tobeginners worry about their English Heritage at Down
Consequently a higher disturb the bees if you canbees, like new parents House, Charles Darwin’s
temperature is maintained avoid it, as this can result in home. John is active in theworrying about every little
in the brood area. This, breaking the cluster which Westerham Branch of thesnuffle at night from their upsets temperature and Kent Beekeepers'
along with the increasing new baby. Are the bees still humidity regulation. Association and during the
requirement to feed larvae, alive? Have a look at the winter he leads a
results in increasing entrance on a fine sunny day If there is no sign of life then discussion group for new
consumption of stores and you should see bees it may be useful to investigate. beekeepers.
Bee Craft digital January 2009 Page 5
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