This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Mid March and More Normal Temperatures

Our weather has gone back to a more seasonal temperature outlook. The cooler weather will hold back the expansion of overwintered hives slightly. Which is good. A beekeeper wants to have the colony packed with bees by early May not mid April. Swarming issues are not there at all because there are no drones in the hives to speak of, as of now.
 The cooler weather will tighten the bee cluster slightly but the bees will be moving around the top box quite easily. The brood area may grow a little slower as the bees need to cover the new brood much more than when the temperatures are in the upper 60's. But the normal temperatures will still let the bees move forward with an increasing hive population.
Pollen patties need to be put on and checked every 10 days or so. Without a reliable source of pollen the bees may stop rearing brood, So beekeepers have to check their pollen patties and replace as necessary. Natural pollen is not really available yet and the cooler weather may slow this down. But there should be some in the near future. The problem is, if it is too cool for the bees to forage, they will not be able to collect pollen. If the daytime temperatures warm into the upper 50's the bees may only have a small part of the day to forage. The resulting pollen will not be sufficient to keep a colony going. I usually keep pollen patties on until June 1st to make sure the bees have all the pollen they can use.
Feeding still is an open option. If the top box is light in total weight, feed. If the top box is heavy, don't feed. Care is needed not to overfeed. We want to give the bees enough feed to flourish, too much feed can hurt the hives springtime population by leaving the queen no where to lay eggs.
Mid March is a time to be patient and not get too far ahead of the weather. I left my winter covers on because I saw this cooler trend coming. Around the first of April I am planning on removing them and do the first reversal of the season.