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Ready for March?

March is a really important month for your colony of bees! It is in March that the bees will be flying, in good weather, every day. Food stores will be at their lowest (unless you have regularly given them fondant over the winter) and there will be lots of hungry larvae to feed! The bees will collect some nectar and pollen from late winter flowering plants such as hazel, crocus, snowdrop, aconites, celandines and daffodils but this will not be enough for their daily needs.

Don’t be tempted to open the hives for a full inspection yet, wait until daily temperatures are over 14C. A quick first look, WITHOUT REMOVING ANY FRAMES, is possible if temperatures are over 10C. Count the number of seams of bees between frames, use your eyes and nose to determine whether disease is likely to be there and check food stores. Don’t worry about several dead bees being ejected from the hive, these are only old winter bees that have died a natural death. You can change hive floors at any time from mid March. Do not remove the mouseguard until all risk of frost is passed.

You can feed thin 1:1 syrup to encourage the queen to lay eggs when temperatures are above 14C. Feed fondant (candy) if food stores are low and temperatures are below this. Check food food stores every week until there is a good nectar flow.



Ever found a lone worker bee far from the hives? In this cold weather this happens quite often as the bee’s wing muscles become paralysed at temps of 46F (7.8C) and below. She is unlikely to make it back to the warmth of the colony without help. It may be sentimental but my policy is to bring the cold bee indoors, offer a smidge of honey, and watch her revive under an upturned glass. Once able to fly she can be released near the hives.





Flowers for my bees?

plant for bees   Planning a garden? Re-planting? People often ask, ‘which flowers should I plant in my garden to provide food for the honey bees?’ A good question, now that the planting season is here! Here is a list to get you started!

Can you tell the difference?

One is a honey bee, one is a wasp (yellow jacket) and one is a bumble bee. (Photos: Wasp: Bruger Glen; Bumble bee – Christian Bauer; Honey bee – Minette Layne) 3 insects pic


The honey bee is in the middle photo. Did you know which one it was? Not everyone can tell the difference, so if you knew, then well done you!


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