Spring has arrived and your bees are active. So what is happening?
The days are getting longer and warmer (southern hemisphere). The Queen’s egg production increases and the brood nest is growing, resulting in increasing bee numbers. Bee numbers can double in a month.
Warmer weather and an increase in nectar and pollen trigger the swarming instinct. The likelihood increases of bees raising queen cells in preparation for swarming.
Spring gives the first opportunity to requeen your colony if needed. Still, Queens are not available for purchase from queen breeders until October and remain available till the end of February.
Full brood inspection.
In Spring, do a full brood inspection on a calm, warm day (at least 20 degrees Celsius). Shake or brush the bees off each frame in the brood box and do a visual inspection of both sides of each frame. Note anything unusual with particular reference to the visible symptoms of American Foulbrood. The Ropiness Test with a match stick (photo above) can help confirm the presence of AFB.
Spring through to early Summer is swarming season.
The best thing you can do for your beehive is to give your bees room to expand in the brood box. If your bees need space in the brood box, lift two frames of honey or brood out of the brood box. Place them in the centre of the honey super, making sure the Queen remains in the brood box. Then add to the brood box, two frames of foundation or open comb to replace those removed earlier. It will give the bees in the brood box somewhere to build new wax comb and the Queen to lay eggs.