Out like a lion

march-honeybeesI’ve been wondering when this would happen: a long, drawn-out, cold and bitter end of winter. Weather has been merciful to me since I began beekeeping. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. March is going out like a lion.

Late winter/early spring is a crucial time for honeybees in northern climes. They have reached the end of their honey stores and have the added challenge of keeping early brood warm.

If the weather is average, beekeepers can easily supplement the bees with extra honey or pollen patties. This year the cold north wind and late season snow has made it difficult to get into the hives. Of our 20 hives, I suspect half will survive. I’ve ordered packages of carniolans to supplement our lost hives and am excited to install them in April.

I’ve been working with some wonderful Minneapolitans this winter who are willing to host hives in their backyards. The permit process has been going since January. As each hive finds a new backyard home, Minneapolis becomes more of an awesome urban jungle.