In our area of the country, queen bees start laying a few eggs in January and increase the number in February. And hives start consuming more as brood rearing begins in late winter/early spring. Make sure your hives don’t starve.
With no forage in our region, hives often starve in February, March and April. So we check our hives and make sure they have enough honey. And if they don’t, we can give them emergency feed. There are many options for feeding: commercially purchased winter patties, fondant (which may be easier for the bees to digest) or sugar either in a brick or loose dry sugar form.
Sugar Brick Recipe
This year I made some sugar bricks using Lauri Miller’s recipe, which she posted on the Beesource website and the Bee-L email list:
25# cane sugar
one scant quart cider vinegar
About 1 tsp of electrolytes with vitamins
1-2 T citric acid or ascorbic acid blends
splash of pro Health or other scented essential oil of choice
Mix with a 1/2″ drill and paint paddle until well blended. Mix should be soft have the texture of snow..not wet. Fill pans and compress with roller. DO NOT cook. Allow to air dry, dry about 100- 110 degrees in food dehydrator or dry in slightly warm oven for several hours.
In my climate my bees can get out fairly regularly in winter for cleansing flights. I top my bricks with dry bee pro. I do NOT mix protein into the block, only sift it on top so they are not forced to eat it when they are not rearing brood.
My only comment is that I mixed too much Honey Bee Healthy in mine. So they smell delicious, but I’m also pretty sure they could start some robbing.
Hive check video
Here’s a video of me checking hives in the home beeyard the other day: