After a long and unusually cold second half of winter, the hedgerows are finally turning green as the hawthorn shows its leaves. Distant willows have a misty appearance as their leaves too sprout forth. The warmer weather and the spring flowers mean that the point of energy balance in the hives, when energy inflow (in the form of nectar) equals energy consumption, has at last been reached. The bees sense that the risk of starvation has retreated and increase the temperature within the hive to enable brood rearing to proceed at full pace. As a result, all of my hives are now very warm below their quilt boxes. Pollen too has been flooding into the hives and stored pollen can be seen through the observation windows as it turns, through fermentation, into bee bread ready to feed the forthcoming larvae. There are many bees to rear to swell the hives for the coming season, but at least we know that a start has now been made and, along with our bees, we can look forward to the days ahead.