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Honey Bees in January

On cold, short, winter days honey bees in January stay huddled together around the queen for warmth in their hive.

Honey Bees in January
Honey Bees in January. Illustration from Izzie Lizzie Busy Bee Book.

They can survive long and very cold spells if they are protected from predators, the worst of the weather and have enough accessible stores to see them through.

Field mouse
A field mouse is a risk to honey bees in January and other cold months

Did you know a nice cosy bee hive with a warm hub of bees provides excellent winter shelter for mice especially when it has a well stocked larder of honey on site? The mice then chew up the wax comb to make a nest; great for themselves, not so good for the bees or beekeeper.

Honey bees in January will appreciate a mouse guard fixed acrossentrance to beehive
Bee guarding the hive entrance in winter

A mouse can flatten its skull to an eighth of an inch and limbo through the narrowest cracks, shimmying under a door, or into the entrance to a bee hive. So the diligent beekeeper reduces the size of the hive entrance in the autumn, and covers it with a mouse guard, keeping bee sized holes to make the entrance to the hive both mouse proof and easier for the bees to guard.

Find out what Izzie Lizzie does in winter, and throughout the year, in our new story book "Izzie Lizzie Busy Bee"

Hellebore flower in the UK in early January
Hellebore in flower in the UK in early January

Although we see evidence that plants are starting growth ready for spring, there is little in flower in my English, East Anglian garden, in January. Just a few hellebores, and despite the recent mild weather, only a hint of snowdrops and winter aconites getting

ready to flower.

Izzie and her sisters are wise to stay inside and wait for spring.

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