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February


Conditions in February change very little, except the temperature in the centre of the cluster is raised slightly, and the brood nest expands to about the size of a tennis ball.


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 and feed only if necessary. If no pollen is being taken into the hive feed fondant; if pollen is being brought to the hive feed syrup.


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.


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, preferably replacing solid floors with Varroa mesh floors, at the end of the month.