According to the Astronomical Seasons, based on the the position of Earth’s orbit in relation to the sun and taking into account equinoxes and solstices, Spring officially starts on the 20th of March 2016 and ends on the 19th of June 2016!
However, this is rather complicated and varies year on year, resulting in the introduction of the Meteorological Calendar. This is used by the Met Office and splits the calendar into four seasons of approximately the same length. The seasons are defined as Spring (March, April, May), Summer (June, July, August), Autumn (September, October, November) and Winter (December, January, February).
So Tuesday 1st March, according to the Met Office, is officially the start of Spring. Yippee – longer days, bit more sun, snowdrops, crocus and soon daffodils. The bees have survived the long hard winter and I can sigh with relief – or not! According to the ‘bee books’, more colonies die out in March than in any other month. This is due to the fact that the bees have exhausted all their stores surviving winter, and now starve because they have nothing left to build up their colony.
With this cautionary tale, I took a quick peek in the hive today to see if the bees had started to eat the fondant I had left over the feed hole back in December. And yes, they have! Munching away happily right inside the bag. I’m amazed because back in October I had left them with a brood box full of stores – more than the recommended over wintering food store. The bee community has been concerned that such a mild winter would interfere with the usual stores management. I think they’ve been right to be concerned and that the milder weather has left the bees more active, more hungry and using more stores. I’ll check on them weekly and see how much they’re taking down and add more fondant when required. The only thing I can’t work out – if they’re inside the bag eating the fondant – how do I change bags? Answers in the comment box please!