While there aren't many pollen sources available in January there are a few non natives planted in abundance around the city to provide food for the girls on those occasional nice days. Hellebore is one of these plants that will provide long lasting blooms full of pollen. This European native is hardy here in the Northwest and some varieties keep their foliage year round. They also grow well in shady locations with little to no care which makes them appealing to gardeners.
There isn't much to say about the hives this time of year other being aware that they know the days are getting slightly longer and will start to raise brood. However without some nicer weather it's not worth disturbing the cluster to see what they are doing. In the mean time I wanted to talk a little about buying bees and the advice I would offer new beekeepers or even existing beekeepers replacing lost hives. This is biased for the northwest but can be easily generalized for any location.
Are You Ready To Order Bees?
There are several ways to get bees and typically the cheapest way is to order a 3lb package (yes you order bees by the pound!) that come with a newly mated queen. These typically come from CA in our area and are made up after the Almond pollination. The bees you get in the package will come from multiple hives with an unrelated queen. These bees are usually from commercial operations and the quality can vary from package to package (it may seem hard to tell but you don't want a lot of dead bees on the bottom of the box). If you aspire for a treatment free beekeeping approach it would be best to replace the queen that comes with the package with a queen from a supplier that breeds for treatment free or low treatment qualities. Of course going this route with a local queen will add to the total cost and will have to be well timed with package arrivals.