From our Beekeeping Calendar:
This is the time for ordering your bees in order to get them by spring in your shipping zone. Because of CCD there is a shortage of bees, so be sure and order early.
Order early your new equipment such as frames and wax so as to avoid the spring rush delays.
If you have bees, this is the time to start checking your hives for stores. By now there should be at least 15 lbs. of honey for them to eat on. That would be about six shallow frames of capped honey (2 1/2 lbs. per frame or 3 1/2 lbs. per medium frame or 6 – 7 lbs. per deep frame). With mediums you will need to have 3 or 4 frames of capped honey. Deeps need to have 2 – 3 frames of capped honey at this time.
Check all hives in your apiary for missing tops since high winds can blow them off. We use a solid brick on top to keep them in place.
Be sure and check for muddy paw prints on the landing boards if your hives are sitting on blocks or stands that are close to the ground. These are usually from skunks trying to get the bees to come out of the hive in order to defend it, thus becoming the skunk’s midnight snack. To stop this, raise the hive up so the skunk can’t reach it or put a carpet tack strip on the edge of the landing board with the tacks facing forward towards the entrance of the hive. The tacks will stick their paws when they pull them back, thus stopping the attacks, but will not harm the bees.