The weather is getting warmer and days are staying lighter a little longer. So, spring can’t be that far away.
To help you care for your bees this spring, we’ve compiled a few tips designed to get your colonies ready for a successful season.
Make Room for the Queen
Make sure that the queen has enough space to lay. Sometimes colonies can be full of over wintered stores. If the queen is unable to lay the colony won’t expand at this crucial time. Also this limits their space making them more likely to swarm at a later stage.
Bees Need Ample Stores
If the bees have utilized all their stores all it takes is a few wet/cold days for bees not to progress or the possible loss of a colony. Normal practice is to feed 1:1 sugar/water mix. Syrup can also be fed at this time to accelerate colony expansion.
Check for Brood and Eggs
If you don’t have a queen you don’t have a colony. An increasing problem we see is queens not surviving the winter or not mating correctly. Check to see if brood is present and in particular look for eggs and if you cannot see them, young larvae are easier to find.
Check the Brood Pattern
How does your brood pattern look? Compare the colony to your other colonies. If there is a smaller amount of brood or a high ratio of drone cells you may have a poorly mated queen. Think about replacing her. A spotty brood pattern could be an indication of poor mating but could also be an indication of disease.
Now is the time to get foundation drawn out. It allows you to have comb ready for the larger flows and keeps the bees busy and less likely to swarm.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
While you still have some time, begin preparing for the season ahead. If expanding your colonies, ensure you have hives ready for splits and that you have the relevant nucs, hive material etc.
If your focus is on honey ensure you have as much foundation drawn out and aim to have your hives as strong as possible as opposed to having multiple hives. Ensure you have a sufficient number of supers!