1. Continue monitoring food stores and practicing the February feeding tips. Work to maintain a 20lb surplus, and feed pollen substitute during cold weeks. To review our article on February beekeeping tips, click here.
2. You should see the population of your hive beginning to explode. Your queen should be laying a tremendous amount of eggs, and a new generation of bees should be hatching. If you do not see any signs of eggs, larva, or brood, your hive is queenless, and you should order a replacement queen or merge the hive with another hive. If your hive has less than 2 frames of bees, merging is your best option. If you have 3 frames of bees, you can add a frame of brood from a stronger hive, and give the hive a new queen.
3. If you can find queens to purchase, splitting can be done in late March, or anytime in April. If you make a split in late March, 4 frames of solid brood, a mated queen, and proper care should guarantee a hive that is ready to make honey in early May.
4. Prevent swarming by adding boxes when the existing box becomes 75% full of bees, or split your hive. If your hive has swarm cells (which are queen cells containing larva or pupae) on the bottom or edges of a frame, then the only way to prevent swarming is by splitting the hive. Simply removing the cells is rarely sufficient, as we typically miss a cell or two.
5. Make sure any stored supers are free of wax moths, and are stored with wax moth crystals.
6. Remove entrance reducers to ensure hives do not overheat on warm days.
7. If you plan to order bees for this year now is the time! Bees are in great demand and supplies are limited.