As Graham referred to last week, do check food levels as it is likely brood rearing has continued through the warm winter, so stores will have been consumed. If you think stores are low the ideal feed at this time is fondant,  purchased or made as Graham referred to, placed in an eke.  If you aren’t sure what an eke is, take a look at our comprehensive glossary of beekeeping terms. 

Ensure you heft both sides of each hive as one side may well be much lighter than the other and might give an indication of the position of the cluster. 

It is also possible that the cluster could have become separated from their stores. Listen at the side of the hive to hear the very gentle buzz which will indicate they are alive and well. The louder the buzz, the stronger the colony. 

If you don’t hear anything you can gently tap the side of the hive. The bees will react with a louder noise. I’ve never tried using a glass against the side to listen but may give that a try to see if it amplifies the sound! Try for yourself and let me know if it works on a wooden hive and I’ll let you know if it works on my polyhive!  

Coming up in the March edition of BeeCraft in addition to our usual features, hear what it's like to discover a colony with AFB and what happens next - such an important topic - written by a beekeeper in Wiltshire, and Dr Gerry Brierley takes a look at the long history of apitherapy.  Our practical article this month will explain how to make a wax wrap and, of course our new regular topic, Gardening for Pollinators, will tell us what to plant next month and so giving us time to prepare.   We'll have an update from our young beekeeper in Australia, Matthew Ingram - after the bushfires - and one of our readers tells us about a bully bee - something to do with crocus wars!  You really don't want to miss out on that one as it sounds so intriguing!

If you want to receive our March edition and you're not already a subscriber, you'll need to act quickly as there's only a week to go before our subscriber list is sent to the printer.  Subscribe now to ensure you don't miss out.

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