Mid-winter and looking forward to spring!
I go through the same feelings every year. At the end of Autumn, I am looking forward to the winter break from beekeeping tasks. But, after a few weeks, my mood changes and I cannot wait for Spring and get back into the hives. 48 days to Spring!
What is going on in my hive in July?
As days get longer, the Queen's egg production slowly increases. The brood nest is beginning to grow, increasing colony size in preparation for Spring. Check hives from outside, and keep the entrance clear of weeds and other obstacles. Prepare boxes, frames, and equipment for Spring.
The Bad News.
Not every beehive makes it through Winter, so check for dead hives.
Indicators to look for:
On a warm afternoon, there is little or no bee activity at the entrance.
Lift the hive from the rear, and if lightweight, then the honey stores are depleted.
It would be worth lifting the lid to check further. Consider a supplementary feeding strategy for hungry bees. Light sugar syrup in an entrance bottle feeder is best in cold weather.
The Good News.
Hints of Spring are around us. There is the beginning of some winter flowering plants. Sour sobs, lavender, and rosemary are flowering in our front yard. On a warm day, the bees are foraging on these plants. What is going to bloom at your home?
Are you ready for Spring?
Swarming! Pest and disease checks! The rapid build-up of bee numbers.