Honey Do Beekeeping Checklist for March
March is the trickiest month, as temperatures can fluctuate greatly, and there is not yet forage for the bees. We often have colonies survive this far and perish in early spring. There are a few causes for this phenomenon, and only so much you can do to prevent it. March is all about monitoring, feeding, cleaning and hoping for the best. If they make it through March, they are probably in the clear.
- Some beekeepers chose not to intervene with their bees at this time of year. However, if you subscribe to a less strict beekeeping philosophy, you might choose to begin feeding a 1:1 ratio of water:sugar and monitoring the bees more closely this time of year.
- If you have multiple hives and some did not survive the winter, relocate the honey from the deceased hives into the live hives. This practice is called load-balancing.
- If your hive has not survived, perform a post-mortem. Carefully look over the hive and try to discern why they died. If there is no longer any honey in the hive, they likely died from starvation. If the cluster perished near the edge of the walls, they could have died of exposure. If you see evidence that mice infiltrated the hive, that could be the cause. The cause is not always clear, but looking through the hive offers insight. We have videos in the Members area that deal with these issues.
- Clean out the hive to prepare for new bees, but leave your mouse guards in place as the mice may still be looking for shelter and food. Cleaning means removing the dead bodies, which can be easily accomplished by carefully removing the vent system on the bottom and letting the bodies fall to the ground.
- If your hive survived, do your best to clean out dead bodies and assess usable comb for next year. Remove any comb that is damaged and save it for future wax rendering.
- Take our quiz: What Honey Bee Breed is Best for Me?