Well since the hives went into winter with little or no stores of their own...I fed heavy for 4-5 weeks. Would it be smart to give each hive a pattie or two come Feb/March....or when is the best time? And who makes good patties?
Now is the time of the year to feed your girls fondant or sugar by the MCM approach. January-March is the danger zone when if the girls run out of stored honey or sugar syrup that you fed in the fall, they will starve to death. By feeding pollen patties at this time you will get the colony and the queen in the brood realing mode. Warm winter days also contribute to the initial of brood rearing.
If you want to feed pollen patties you should delay until about nine weeks before the start of the necter flow. The blooming of the dandilions is a good signal of the begining of the flow in most locations. In my case it is the blooming of the aspen trees, a major early pollen source which precedes the dandilions.
Do a search for Mountain Camp Method (MCM), fondant, bloom dates, and "Maximizing Honey Production with Effective Spring Management" authored by Carl Wenning, as a summary of a presentation made by George W. Imirie at the 1999 ABF in Nashville, TN. All of this is available on beesource.com.
FYI, I got started on beekeeping at my dad's elbows 60+ years ago along Atherton St. in State College.
I'm glad you are looking out for your bees. Hang in there and best of luck!
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