Beekeeper’s Calendar – MARCH

March is a critical month.  If the hive was low on honey going into the winter, then March is the month they may starve out.  The bees have probably moved all the way up in the hive and their overall population is very low due to normal die – outs throughout the winter. The bees are going to be flying much more in March, especially this year with the mild weather and consequently they consume more honey.   The entire hive will begin to return to an almost normal operation now that winter is almost over. There will be cold snaps, but the bees will do fine as they begin to expand.

It is at this time of year that bee keepers will inspect the hives. There will be a few days in which the temperature will rise to 12 degrees or higher. At these temperature we can look in the hive and remove a few frames for inspection.  March is a great month to start feeding pollen patties (which is necessary to help feed the brood).

The bottom board is usually filled with dead, winter bees.  They did their job, we play “Taps”, salute them, and toss them in the yard for the mice and birds to enjoy.  It is also at this time that we serve the mice an eviction notice. (To a mouse, a beehive is a very desirable residence. It is warm, protected from the wind and rain, and offers an ideal place for a nest. They will consume stores, especially pollen. When a colony is active, mice will generally be warned off by the bees’ ability to sting,  but as the winter cluster of bees forms, this threat is greatly diminished and the mice will try to gain access.)

At this time  we are able to assess how many colonies have died out over the winter. These boxes are cleaned out and we freeze the comb to use in the new hives in the spring. This will prevent the spread of wax moth.

March is the time in which beekeepers, begin getting the boxes and frames ready for addition to old hives and to establish new ones.