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December Beekeeping Tips
1. Continue monitoring food stores. Pollen patty feeding can be discontinued as your hives remain clustered most days. However, during warmer days bees will fly, searching for food sources. You may find bees burrowing into chicken feed, sawdust, etc. They are attempting to find a source of protein and will gather any type of dust thinking it is a protein source. You can open feed protein powder in December and January. It is not completely necessary, but any feeding is helpful.
2. During quick hive inspections you will most likely see the size of the cluster diminish over time. The bees will be clustering more and more tightly as the weather gets colder. But, you will also see a slow loss in population as the fall workers die. This is normal. Hives often lose strength over winter, thus the larger and stronger the hive going into winter the better.
3. If you plan to purchase nucs or queens in 2020, ordering now will ensure you are able to get the earliest possible pick up dates next year. Order bees here!
4. With the cold weather you may notice your harvested honey beginning to crystallize. To re-liquefy, warm at 120 degrees for 24 hours. This can be done using a variety of methods, such as a bucket heater or an old refrigerator or ice chest with light bulbs and a thermostat.