During my last inspection over the weekend I saw drones in my strong hives. Drones are a sign that the hive is on a stable buildup cycle and can invest extra resources beyond just making workers. However with the waves of sun/rain we've been getting, the hives can't take advantage of the nectar sources available and brood combs are currently looking light. I consider a comb light when I don't see a 2-3" band of honey/nectar and another 1" band of pollen along the top.
I do hear about March swarms every year and yes that could happen this year if the sun were to come out for a few days. A few hives get lured into early swarming by the surge in blooms and lack of early spring management to open up the broodnest. Based on what I've been seeing I have started doing swarm management inspections every 7-10 days to stay ahead of them. As long as the weather keeps up this pattern I'm not too worried, but if we get more than 3 days of sunshine in a row everything can change.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). This is one of my favorite bee friendly herbs with flower colors varying from white, blue, pink and purple. Around here they usually have a robust bloom coming out of winter lasting into spring, but they also tend to bloom whenever they want any month of the year. On a spring day in the sunshine these bushes will be covered in bees working them for pollen. I've observed the flowers leaving a white/pale pollen mark along the thorax of workers which isn't quickly cleaned off and can be found during inspections. These evergreens are usually hardy enough to survive our winters, but can be damaged by deep freezes or extended winter storms over time. Plant in a well drained sunny spot and they will thrive. They also respond well to hedging and can be easily propagated from cuttings.
Back to the bees,