Early Spring...what to do
Early March can be a tricky time of the year for the beekeeper. You wondering what you should be doing for the bees. It’s too cold to open them up, one should not open hives until the daytime temps are at least 10 degrees Celsius. And even then, you should NOT open them for long. So on those early March days when the temps are anywhere from -4 to+8, you are left with other tasks. The first is assessing loses. Some hives make it, others don’t. Remember you can use the honey from those dead outs for other hives later in spring as long as the hive had no evidence of dysentry. Go around and lift your hives, assess the weight, that way you will know which ones are going to need to be fed, which ones are going to be given those honey frames later in spring and who is fine.
What if they are light and it is to early and cold for sugar syrup. We make a candy board to feed them at this time of year. We can put them in the top feed holes of the hives without disturbing the bees. Candy boards are easy to make, all you need is sugar, water and a candy thermometer. I got one at Walmart. You use 4 cups sugar to 3 cups water, boiling it down to 238 degrees, the soft ball candy stage. Remove from stove, let it cool a bit, and then use your hand mixer to beat it. When it starts to turn whitish, it’s ready. Pour small amounts onto small paper plates. These will harden, you can break them into pieces to fit into the feeder holes of the hive.
While we are waiting for spring to catch up with us, we continue wiring frames, painting new and old hive boxes, making nuc boxes and praying to the goddess of spring to bring us warmer winds.