March Tips

This March came in like a lion, roaring with ferocious winds along the coasts and new snow on the mountains. Nonetheless, the crocuses and jonquils that began to peek out from winter-drenched beds by February’s end are now up and welcoming bees on any day they fly, promising that spring is close at hand.

Still lingering from the colder months are winter aconite, hellebore, snowdrops and heathers along with a few other hardy souls, and our bees are finding both pollen and nectar in willow blooms.

True, it is a month when honey bees can starve as their winter stores run out, even as more flowers appear. Watch the weather more than the calendar to determine when and whether to supplement your bees’ food supply.

And yet–the first HONEY FLOW of the year also begins this month with the bloom of the earliest maple species, and will continue on into April. Nature provides—but we can help.

Tip 1. Make your first speedy hive inspection (just a peek!) on a warm day in March to check for any brood and to clean bottom board thoroughly.

Tip 2. One more frame marking (see February Tips): when you first put a frame into service, write the month and year on the top, and continue to mark each year you clean it.

Sharpy marks show frame “in service” in 2019, and “cleaned” in 2021

Tip 3. Fumigate all dead-out hives with concentrated acetic acid (see “On No! Nosema” in the How to: Pests/Diseases section of this blog for instructions).

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