FeaturedIn the ApiaryPractical Advice

The Apiary in March

Title Photo – Credit CAD. : Double Rainbow over Charlecote Park

As the weather warms we can get a quick “peek” to see what is going on in our Colonies and check they have enough food to keep them ticking over until the first flowers of spring really start to produce nectar and pollen.

As ever the big problem is the persistent wind and rain which have prevented the workers getting out. In addition brood has to be kept warm.

The below shows a colony that has faded way due to the Queen dying or just not mating adequately last summer.

They had plenty of Fondant above them and in the brood chamber, but too few bees and little sign of any Brood Grubs or eggs.

The combs they died on were burned as I always advise, and the rest recycled after sterilisation using Acetic Acid or if past their sell-by-date used as fuel for the log burner.

Dead Colony
Dead Colony

It is that time to get your stored equipment out and sort out what needs repairing, waterproofing and maybe replacing as the legs on this old Hive stand will be.

Rotten Hive Stand Legs
Repaired Hive Stand Legs

It will not be long before all our kit is out of storage and in use in the Apiary. 

The question as always – Have I got enough equipment if my bees swarm?

A Nucleus hive 5/6 frame is essential especially if you need to split a colony to prevent that early swarm.

As it has been so cold and wet, many early flowers have been unavailable for the worker bees to replenish their hive food supplies, especially pollen.  Hopefully that will change by the end of the month or early April.

But I fed my hens with stale bread in the middle of the month and clearly the sugars in the bread attracted some of my more adventurous worker bees rather than working nearby blooms.

Bees feeding on Bread

It is good to see Queen Bumbles out and about starting their own Nests as the weather improves and temperatures rise.  They are always out flying well before our bees.

Queen Bumble sunning herself on the shed roof
Queen Bumble on Rosemary

The hedgerows are starting to blossom with Blackthorn and other essential flowers enabling Insects to pollinate the flowers for the year ahead.

But many hedgerows have been cut back destroying the young flowering shoots.

The exception to this I found near the A46 M40 junction at Longbridge and it was full of buzzing Insects.

Flowering Hedge
Trimmed Hedge – No flowers
Wild Cowslip

Grape Hyacinth

April is time to get your Asian Hornet baiting stations or traps out and about, but not near to your hives.

Place them in the sun nearby to the house so you can check them each day to see what if anything you have caught  or needs releasing.

Further information is available on the BBKA web site: https://www.bbka.org.uk/Listing/Category/asian-hornet-vespa-velutina

If you consider the bees have insufficient stores you can now feed a little weak liquid feed like syrup  or a lump of Fondant but in the next few weeks there should be plenty of forage available.

Hopefully next month we will get some warm weather enabling us to get a first proper examination of the hives and clean them up after a long wet winter.

Any of you who put supers below the Broodchamber for the winter as I did, will need to  take them off, shake the bees out, and get them above the Queen excluder.

Next Month: Varroa check; Time to get supers on and give them room to expand.

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.