Far Northern Illinois, couple of hours west of Chicago. Saw the first crocus flowers today while cleaning the kitchen herb garden. First flower I have see this spring. No dandelions yet, but they are greening up. Weather is predicted highs in the 50s, lows in the lower 30s for the next 5 days.
I took off the winter wraps this week on a 70-degree day from my one surviving hive and replaced the empty lower 10-deep with drawn comb and some honey left from a dead hive. I figured that freezing and thawing outdoors for the last two months after the bees died should have killed off most any bug in it and it would be safe to give to the live hive. The live hive is increasing numbers, and had a few frames of honey left in the medium super. I didn't look in the second 10-deep to see if there was brood but I assume so since the numbers are up from last time I checked. Didn't want to disturb the queen if she was busy! Swapped out the bottom board and top cover with clean, freshly painted ones so I can take the old one and repaint it.
Getting anxious to put out bait hives in hopes of catching some swarms. Anyone with experience in this area tell me when the swarms usually start? I am assuming end of April, but don't really know.