Winter Managment

Highlighting: Seasonal Beekeeping Advice

Date(s) - 12/01/2019 - 01/31/2020
All Day

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Signs of the Season

  • Daytime temperatures below 50°F
  • No nectar or pollen sources
  • Significant rainfall in many areas

Activity in the Hive

  • No brood or only hand-sized patches
  • Hive population declines to 10 frames of bees
  • Cluster activity starts when temps are below 50°F
  • Little flight activity when temps are below 50°F
  • Queen awaits the first pollen and nectar flows to start laying

Beekeeper’s Checklist

☐ Perform quick inspection when temps are above 60°F
☐ Check honey stores – at least 30 pounds per hive remaining
☐ Feed winter pollen patties or fondant sugar candy in hive if inadequate honey stores
☐ Check pollen stores – consider open-feeding pollen substitute
☐ Check empty comb stores and apply additional “para-moth”
☐ Clean and repair stored equipment for spring use
☐ Order bees and queens if necessary
☐ Read and learn from beekeeping publications

Potential Problems

  • High varroa counts – treat before honey flow starts
  • Queenless hives – requeen or combine with a strong hive
  • Tracheal mites and Nosema present but not visible


  • How many hives do I want to have when summer begins?
  • Do I have enough equipment ready to split my hives in spring?
  • What treament(s) will I use for varroa control this year?
  • Do I have my queen-rearing equipment ready?
  • Where will I buy bees and/or queens if I need them?
  • Will I become a Master Beekeeper this year?


Credit: THBEA NewBee Brochure 2018