While I haven’t been posting updates on a regular basis, I’m still very active in the Austin Urban Beekeeping Meetup Group. We had an excellent Beekeeping 101 class in January with over 100 people in attendance, and we just had our February meeting this past Monday where we discussed swarm prevention and capturing swarms.
Our Meetup members also requested we start a monthly “What should I be doing now?” column so that new beekeepers have a sense of what they should be seeing or doing with their hives. I ran through this in the meeting, but thought I would also start posting it to my blog as well. So here goes:
- Check honey stores in your hive. A healthy hive has started to ramp up brood production in preparation for Spring, and this is a dangerous time when your colony can starve. We’ve had a crazy winter in Central Texas, and we can’t rule out another prolonged cold snap. If stores are low, you can feed a 1:1 mixture to keep your hive alive until the nectar flow really gets going.
- Observe the entrance to hive. Red Buds and Dogwoods are starting to bloom and you should notice bees bringing pollen back to the hive.
- Swarm Prevention. There are lots of techniques to prevent swarming, but now is the time to put those in practice. Once a colony decides to swarm, it is often too late to stop it. At this point, techniques to make the colony think it has already swarmed can be used, but these usually involved splitting your hive which may not be ideal or practical for some people.
- Get signed up for swarm e-mail lists. Swarm season is right around the corner so if you are interested in picking up some free bees, get signed up on a swarm mailing list and have your equipment for capture said swarm in your vehicle.
6 responses to “February and March Tasks”
I admit I am not a beekeeper but genuinely interested in the topic, please share. I have begun writing fairy tales (again),and want to be accurate in my descriptions.
Hey Karl- Great Blog and super pictures.
I am about to start beekeeping again. I am a still a beginner, but keen to learn much more about bees. I have a bee hive (empty) so wanted to sign up if there are swarms.
Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading about that.
How was your year in beekeeping?
Hey Emma. I didn’t keep bees this year. Having a baby just consumed too much time. I’ve stayed active in my local beekeeping community and hope to start again next spring.
Congratulations! Yes – babies are far more demanding than bees 🙂 I hope all went very well, and you’ve bees to look forward to in spring.