Beekeeping in March

 
The first hints of spring come in March. It’s especially clear with your hives as the bees begin their early spring activities.

March: Bees

The bees will begin flying in March and could find some nectar and pollen supplies. However, it won’t nearly be enough. This is the month when colonies can die of starvation. Feed your bees as needed. They can consume up to 3 pounds of food per day. You can feed them frames of honey from a healthy hive. Sugar boards are a very good option as well, but it’s still too cold to feed syrup.

Along with early flying, brood rearing will begin in earnest and will be quite noticeable by month’s end. More brood means more food consumed. The bees will continue to consume honey and pollen stores.

March: Beekeeping

Early in the month, on a nice mild day when there’s no wind and the bees are flying, you can have a quick peek inside your hive. It’s best not to remove the frames. Just have a look-see under the cover. If you do not see any sealed honey in the top frames, you may need to provide some emergency food (fondant or granulated sugar, if cold temps prevail). Once you start feeding, you shouldn’t stop until they’re bringing in their own food supplies and they’re ready for honey supers.

When the hive is open, also check the status of the colony. Ensure the hive is queen-right (Are there eggs in the brood chamber? Do you need to combine weak colonies?) and feed pollen substitutes for rapid hive growth. Keep in mind, with cooler temperatures and limited nectar, the bees might be more aggressive.

March is a time for preparation and evaluation leading into the busy spring and summer months. Check each hives entrance for blockage and finish any last minute preparations. Re-check plans for new colonies, re-queening or other related up front operations. Now is also the time to evaluate your honey supers and make sure they are ready for the upcoming year.

Estimated time needed: 2 hours*

March: Checklist

Order nucs, packages, hives and queens (if you haven’t already)
Check the hive food stores
Make sure all equipment is ready and painted for bees
Apply the first treatment of Salvation Salve
Attend your local bee club meetings or workshops
Network with local beekeepers to learn what they’re doing that works

 

Flowers Bees Love in Early Spring

*Bloom times vary depending on the variety, seasonal weather and elevation.

Blooming Bulbs & Perennial Flowers
    Aubretia
    Candy Tuft
    Creeping Phlox
    Crested Iris
    Crocus (Bulb)
    Daffodil (Bulb)
    Grand Maitre Crocus (Bulb)
    Grape Hyacinth (Bulb)
    ‘Harmony’ Iris (Bulb)
    Pansy
    Primrose
    Puschkinia (Bulb)
    Snowdrops (Bulb)
    Snowflake
    Tulip (Bulb)
    Winter Aconite
    Wood Hyacinth (Bulb)

 

Shrubs
    Forsythia
    Rhododendron

 

Trees
    Apricot
    Cherry
    Maple

 

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT MONTH?

READ BEEKEEPING IN APRIL

General Notes

Weather is the ultimate calendar when taking care of bees. Depending on the weather and your bee type, the time frame for activities should be adjusted earlier or later as necessary. You will have more success adapting to the bee’s schedule, rather than them adapting to yours.

Beekeepers are many and varied; some choose a hands off approach, while some are very hands on. Some choose to medicate and others are using other Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods which do not include medication. Whatever your preference, you can and should adapt this calendar to fit your needs. Thank you for keeping bees, and let us know if you have any questions regarding your hive. We’re always happy to help.

*Time estimates do not include equipment repair and cleaning or honey extraction.

 


Information for this article was provided by Kent Mickelsen, Utah Certified Nurseryman, IFA Country Store; Utah State University Extension; and Slide Ridge Honey in Mendon, Utah.

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