71deg. in March (first signs of swarm season)

Depending On where you live 71 deg may or may not be that big of a deal. Were I live it happens once in a great while. I’m happy to say that on my lunch I was able to take advantage of the warmth and inspect my nuc colonies. The weakest one is bouncing back very nicely. They were on the brink of starvation, however I noticed some new nectar coming in. I may end up feeding them just a little until I start seeing dandelions.

The next colony is about to outgrow their hive. If I get the opportunity next week I will either put them in ten frame hives or split them (it may be a bit early for a split). They did show the first sign of swarm prep. Which leads me into a tangent because we are getting very close to swarm season.

Photo Mar 15, 12 11 41 PM

Capped drone brood is the first sign that a colony is beginning to think about swarming. Don’t misunderstand, not all drone brood is a sign of swarming, however in my limited experience when a colony starts its first drone brood of the season swarm cells are generally not that far behind.

This particular colony has a queen from when one of my colonies swarmed early last year. She is an extremely good layer.

Photo Mar 15, 12 11 36 PM

On the face of it you’ll think this brood pattern isn’t very good at all. She has only made use of the lower left corner. I need to point out that every other cell for the most part was being used for pollen or nectar storage. This was the only space available to her. She also had tiny patches of brood at the farthest reaches of the outer most frames where there were maybe 100 cells not in use for other purposes. The best sign of strength in this colony is the bees boiling over the sides when I remove the migratory cover.

Thanks for reading if you enjoyed it please subscribe near the top right of the screen. Also click the like button near the bottom of the page. This helps me determine what you guys like to read about and may steer my writing in the future. If you have any questions or anything to add feel free to leave a comment. How are your colonies faring this year?

Thanks Brian

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Posted in beekeeping, beekeeping 101
11 comments on “71deg. in March (first signs of swarm season)
  1. 71 deg is very hot here. That sounds about hotter than a Starbucks coffee, (mind you that is not saying much), except you are probably in fahrenheit and we do it properly!! 0 freezing 100 boiling, how you manage F I can not imagin.

    Good to hear how things are going.

    Keep up the blog

    • Brian says:

      Yea I live in Fahrenheit land. The only way to survive it is to plan on being burned all the time. Then being pleasantly surprised when your not.

  2. It’s a balmy 62 here in upstate New York… considerably warmer than what it normally this time of year! Hey, I looked on your site for your email address, but couldn’t find one. I had a thought for your blog. If you want you can shoot me an email at sawsonskates(at)gmail(dot)com.

  3. solarbeez says:

    Hi Brian, I looked for your “About” page to see where you live. We hit 80F last March 31st. That’s hot for the Oregon Coast.

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