In the Beehive.
The days are getting longer with the Queen's egg production increasing, and the brood nest is slowly growing. The result is an increasing colony in preparation for Spring. The bees might start raising drones and queen cells in preparation for swarming.
When weather permits, inspect hives for health issues. Include Varroa mite surveillance by using the alcohol wash method. The ideal day for a hive inspection is 18 degrees and no wind. Don't open the hive for your inspection of frames during cold weather.
It is still winter, therefore checking hives from the outside by lifting from the rear to assess the weight of honey stores and keeping the entrance clear of weeds. Finish your preparation of boxes, frames, and equipment for next season.
Swarms: Know the Signs.
The best place to begin when thinking about Spring Management of your beehive is knowing the factors that lead to swarming.
What leads to swarming?
The first three factors are environmental, over which you have no control.
Lengthening daylight hours.
Warming weather of Spring.
Increase in flowering plants and nectar resources.
The five biological factors are:
Colony congestion. The beehive crowds with bees, and there is a lack of cells in which the Queen can lay.
As the bee number grows, there is a dilution of the Queen pheromones.
Drone production starts.
An aging Queen over one year old is in the colony. This Queen usually leaves with the first swarm of the season.
The presence of Queen cells in your beehive. The preparation of Queen cells are the last factor to emerge before swarming.
You can manage the biological factors to reduce swarming.
All the best with your bees.