This winter has been mild and good for the bees. The Queen is busy now laying eggs to build up the population in the hive to bring in more pollen and honey to feed the larger hive when it is foraging time. As soon as the weather gets warm enough the older bees will begin to look for food. They will get a solid start on spring and the plants will be out early so we can look for early swarms. Swarms can be good if the Beekeeper can catch them. Many times the Bees will head to the tallest tree around and may be too high to get to.
I lost all 8 hives here in the yard in Oxford last fall due to the spraying for triple E mosquito. There are many other beekeepers that had big losses this year. One of the things that many folks did here last fall was to feed the hives so they could store enough food for the long winter. The warm weather will force the bees to use up a lot of their stores and many hives will starve. There is a very hard balance between seasons , stores and management.
This Spring we have purchased 4 nuke hives. (That is a small hive made up of five frames some bees and a laying Queen and brood from that queen. The edge this year is that the bees are northern bees. They should have an easier time adapting to the cold and the short seasons here in the north. The chances of exposure to African Bees is minimal. That’s a story for another time.
Stay warm and keep the busy!