This week appears to be bringing the first signs of spring and a change to one of the wettest winters on record. With the temperature in the late teens over the weekend I took the opportunity to begin inspecting my bees for the first time this season. The bees were very active, many returning with laden with parcels of yellow and golden pollen, queuing to get back into the hive.
I had begun to worry about the quantity of food my bees were consuming and how much they had in store. I am unable to get a good sense of stores bees may have by hefting the hives, I do not trust myself to guess this accurately. Most of the colonies have consumed the additional 2.5kg of fondant that they were given over the Christmas period when I also treated them with oxalic acid.
It is a little early, however Sunday was a beautiful day, to remove woodpecker and mouse guards, change hive floors and swap brood and supers back round putting them either above a queen excluder or the crown board. All my hives had plenty of stores, in most cases 7 or 8 frames full and 1 or 2 frames of brood, the queens have just started to lay. I clearly had no need to worry about lack of food, they were all looking healthy and well. So far I have not had any losses this winter, it is of course a very critical time now as brood will continue to expand and the need for stores will increase.