Early spring is a good time to check on your honey bee colony. Did your bees survive winter? Did they contract dysentery during the winter clustering? All of these concerns can be addressed during an early spring inspection of your honey bee colony.
Inspect your hive when the temperature begins to rise consistently. If you open your hive too soon, the honey bee colony may become chilled and may die. It is also common to see some dead bees during early spring inspection. This is normal – some honeybees simply cannot handle the drastic changes during wintertime.
What to Check for in Your Honey Bee Colony
It is also important to check whether you still have a healthy, egg-laying queen bee in the hive. If not, you may have egg-laying workers. If this is the case, the egg-laying workers must be removed from the colony as they produce male drones only. If you have a queen-less, weak colony, it might be necessary to unite the weak colony with a stronger colony. Many beekeepers recommend the newspaper method to unite a weak colony and a strong colony. Just make sure that the stronger colony is queen-right.Honey Bee Colony Health: Challenges and Sustainable Solutions (Contemporary Topics in Entomology)
In addition to checking for the presence of a healthy queen in your honey bee colony, check the frames for honey and other food stores. If there is a lot of uncapped and capped honey, your bees are doing well. It is also normal for a honey bee colony to lose 1/3 to 1/2 of its total population during very cold winter months. In fact, a general inspection of the entire system including the area is a good idea. The early spring nectar flow will help the honey bee colony in its efforts in repopulating the hive.