The time is here to check your apiary and assess hives. Determine if you will be splitting overcrowded colonies, replacing dead outs or in need of new queens.
Get a feel of overall health, vigor and strength of each colony.
Do a hive check ONLY ON WARM, NON-WINDY DAYS. Usually temps above 50 are best.
Have all equipment with you so the hive check will be quick and efficient. Find the cluster and determine if food stores need to be quickly moved next to the bees. Add dry sugar, winter patties, fondant or sugar bricks if supplements are needed.
Never pull out frames with bees or brood on days colder than 50 degrees, only empty and honey frames. Better to chill a hive than lose it to starvation! If hives are overcrowded, plan to split in the spring. More bees and brood means more food needed. May need a box of drawn comb, no foundation until late spring. Mark these colonies for splitting, keep a apiary journal if that helps!
Bad weather necessitates feeding sugar, syrup or pollen