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  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #443  by AdamD
 29 Aug 2018, 14:02
From the NBU

"Bee Inspectors across the UK are reporting that many colonies look low on food reserves and are in need of food, especially those colonies where honey has been taken off and replacement food been given back. The sugar syrup should be made by using 1kg of sugar to 650ml of warm water or commercially ready-made bee syrup used. Please monitor you colonies throughout the autumn and feed as required to ensure they do not end up starving. As a rule, standard full size British National colonies will need around 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter.

For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page:

My bees have little forage although some pollen is now coming in. As an illustration of the NBU's concerns, I checked a 5 frame nuc at the weekend and it had about a palm-sized patch of stores in the corner of one frame and nothing else at all. If I had left it another week ......
 #448  by DianeBees
 30 Aug 2018, 09:42
I checked through my three nucs yesterday and they're fine at the moment, but didn't plan on keeping three nucs for overwintering - need to crack on and merge them I think.

It's September nearly!
 #521  by Bindweed
 06 Sep 2018, 20:23
Hi, regarding the advice to feed, can this be done before treating for varroa

Thanks in anticipation
 #525  by Patrick
 06 Sep 2018, 21:46
Depends slightly on the treatment you envisage using.

No need to stress but If you think they are really are starving i would feed pronto, then treat for varroa. With a rapid feeder they can easily take a gallon in 24hrs then you know they are okay and you can address the varroa issue, MAQs advises not to feed and treat, Apiguard by contrast seems to put some colonies off taking down syrup.

Can't speak about other treatments, but if they are starving the priority has to be pulling them back and getting the queen laying again - chances are if they have no food the queen will have gone off lay and you will not have the winter bees being generated. They may suffer from varroa later on with a slightly delayed treatment but they definitely will starve now if there is no flow and no stores.

Best of luck
 #526  by Nigel Pringle
 06 Sep 2018, 22:21
If your bees are starving you have done a bloody poor job of looking after them.
It's not rocket science to see if they have enough stores or not.
Take each hive as an individual case.
I'm currently bringing hives back from the heather. Some of the brood boxes are light some are heavy. Not difficult to decide what to do.
 #529  by Patrick
 07 Sep 2018, 17:41
Hi Nigel , good to hear from you.

I think the NBU inspectors may be seeing a lot of large unswarmed colonies that managed to fill brood chambers and all the stores were pushed into the - now removed - supers.

Suspect many will have stopped weekly inspections and who ever reads about hefting in the summer? So yes not great beekeeping but “the books” rarely suggest summer feeding as a necessary possibility either.

Around me in Somerset the bramble flow was massive this year but then stopped with.a nearly audible clang..
 #530  by thewoodgatherer
 07 Sep 2018, 19:01
Regards ending weekly inspection I’m still checking my colonies weekly just not bothering to be thorough and just check the general condition (amount of stores). If you take away all the honey then you obviously can’t just leave them to get on with it.
 #531  by Nigel Pringle
 07 Sep 2018, 19:49
Hi Patrick....
Patrick wrote:
06 Sep 2018, 21:46

"but “the books” rarely suggest summer feeding as a necessary possibility either".
About time we chucked most of them on the big bonfire of misinformation that abounds in beekeeping.
Brother Adam had it right when he said: "Let the Bees tell you".

I've just brought most of my hives back from the heather. Some brood boxes are heavy some are light. Not difficult to figure out the next step.