Updated: 18 hours ago
March is a busy time of the year. The bees should begin rapidly growing, flowers are blooming and beekeepers should be busy!
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These tips are for those climates that are experiencing fluctuating temperatures from the 30's to 70's.
1. March is a great month to requeen those old or failing queens. It is also a a good idea to replace queens in hives that are suffering from a disease varroa. Besides giving your bees a fresh strong queen, it will give them a brood break, which helps slow varroa and combat brood diseases. Don't forget to order your Nucs and Queens early. Make sure your equipment is in good condition and ready for, supering, splits, or new hives.
2. Hives may have depleted a large amount of their stores by March, if so, feed sugar syrup and consider feeding pollen substitute if they are not bringing in pollen. Hives will decrease their brood production if they do not have excesses amounts of food.
3. Late March to mid April is a great time to split hives, as they will have enough time to grow to be able produce honey. Splits will need to be heavily fed.
4. Check your Varroa population and treat accordingly. If your mite count on a sugar roll is 2-3; I would suggest treating as the mite population will continue to grow and, you do not want to have to treat your hive during the honey flow.
5. As the weather warms up, empty frames of comb that were formally full of food can be rotated in between the frames of brood. This forces the queen to lay in the comb, expanding the brood nest. Be careful! Do not rotate too many frames into the brood circle as it could cause the brood to chill. In cold weather bees cannot even move one frame over to retrieve the life saving honey. You don't want your bees to die during a sudden cold snap! This is a measure used mainly to build up you hives to split or harvest brood. Please note: Only do this on hives that are strong or building out quickly.
6. If you had any hives die you will want to make sure the equipment is free of pests and disease before using it for another hive. For pests, like wax moths and beetles, the frames can be simply frozen. If it looks like a disease, you will probably want to burn or throw away the frames. Check out our section on diseases and pest to help identify the cause of death.
7. Bees will build up very quickly in March as the weather warms up. Prevent swarming by adding boxes when the existing box becomes about 75% full of bees, or make a split. If your hive has swarm cells on the bottom or edges of a frame, then the only way to prevent swarming is by splitting the hive. You can remove the frames with cells and put them in a Nuc box to create a new hive! Removing the cells is rarely sufficient, as is is easy to miss a cell. Also if the bees have an urge to swarm they will just make a new cell or swarm anyways!