As the weather warms and early blooming flowers appear, the hive comes to life. There will be a greater density of brood throughout the combs in the brood chamber. The upward curve of growth begins this month but beware sudden cold weather that can cause the queen to stop laying or cause food shortages. It is possible for the bees to consume up to 3 pounds of food per day as the brood increases; be prepared to supplement feed if needed.
Finish those preparations for new colonies - make absolutely sure that you the right number of packages on order; now is also the time to re-evaluate your honey supers and make sure they are in good condition for the new year.
On a warm day when the bees are actively flying, open the hive to check the status of the colony. Look for the following:
* Check that the hive is queen right - are there eggs in the brood chamber? You my need to combine weak colonies or equalize all the hives in the bee yard for spring survival.
* Add pollen substitutes for rapid hive growth - either in patty form (in the hive during inclement weather) or dry substitute (given outside the hive) if you so desire.
* Check the hive weight and make sure that there is enough honey to last if there is a sudden cold spell or nectar/pollen shortage in the area around your colonies.
Don't hesitate to supplement with syrup or pollen if you are worried - you don't want to loose that hive if they made it through the winter!