Backyard beekeeping is a charming endeavor, a humble and eco-friendly melody with sweet rewards. As backyard beekeepers, we prepare our honeybee hives for the eagerly anticipated arrival of spring, a season marked by blooming flowers and the sweet promise of nectar. Our role is to ensure our hives are ready to embrace the flora that this season brings, allowing our honey bees to create honey to their sweet little heart’s content.
It's crucial to ensure the health of your hive during this season to set them on the path to thriving throughout the year. You likely had to feed your hive during the winter drought to keep them energized enough to keep warm and survive. You may have also treated for varroa mites, as winter is an optimal time for that. As the weather warms up, your honey bees should be ready and eager to venture out into the blossoming fields! Always remain vigilant in managing the varroa mite population in your hive but be cautious about treating during honey flows to avoid any contamination of the honey.
Springtime is often associated with strong honey flows, so if you notice your hive is collecting lots of nectar and building new wax, consider adding a super box to facilitate their expansion. Typically, good health and increased honey production are key ingredients for swarming. Keep an eye out for signs of swarming and take precautions to prevent it, including making splits if feasible. Especially in urban areas, it’s important to prevent your bees from swarming as they can end up in neighbor’s properties or in busy public areas. It’s neighborly to prevent your hive from swarming.
Keep in mind that flowers serve as the primary source of food for honey bees and other pollinators. With increases in urban development and outdated grass lawns, finding floral forage becomes increasingly challenging for our pollinators, even during springtime. Encourage your neighbors to upgrade their lawn and incorporate pollinator gardens featuring native flora. This aids in nourishing our pollinators and thus contributes to the well-being of our urban ecosystem. Check out University of Florida’s Perfect Plants for Pollinators guide: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/gardening-