Stores and Varroa

In some areas beekeepers have reported shortages of food stores in their hives. It is advised therefore that you check your colonies have adequate stores and add supplements if required. With the weather being quite variable, fondant is the best option rather than liquid feed.

This is also a good time to check for Varroa and for those of you thinking about treating your colonies with Oxalic acid, we remind you to only use approved products in the recommended manner.

Further information about colony feeding, Varroa control and keeping good medicine records can be found on the NBU website at www.nationalbeeunit.com

Colony stores shortage warning

Nectar flows have ceased and reports are coming in of bee colonies which are short of stores. It is also apparent that Wasps have been very populous in many areas and they too are desperate for nutrition so Beekeepers should be mindful of the need to protect hives from Wasp invasion particularly where feeding is taking place in the apiary.

Colonies particularly at Risk are:

• Bee Colonies where supers of honey have been removed this season and no feeding has taken place.

• Splits / Artificial Swarms and Nucleus colonies made up this year.

• Swarms collected this year where little or no supplementary feeding has taken place.

Immediate action:

• Firstly – Check all colonies feed levels by ‘hefting the hive’ – Check the weight of the colony by lifting below the floor on both sides of the hive to see how much it weighs. Where the hive is light, liquid feed should be applied directly above the bees. Remove any supers from above the brood box which are empty or have few bees in them. This will help the bees get to the food quickly.

• Feed can be sugar and water mixed at 2:1 ratio or one of the proprietary ready mixed syrups available.

• Fondant can be used in an emergency if nothing else is available – but liquid feed will be more appropriate at this time of the season.

• Large starving colonies of bees will take 1 gallon (Approx 5 Litres) of syrup very quickly – smaller colonies ½ gallon (Approx 2.5 Litres) may be sufficient to keep them going, but after feeding heft hives again and check the weight – if in doubt feed some more in a few days time.

Further information and Guidance:

Further information on supplementary feeding can be found on Beebase – Best Practice Guideline Number 7 – ‘Emergency Feeding’

http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

Potential starvation risk!

Just to remind all beekeepers that the June gap can still happen and inclement weather, combined with large growing colonies and little or no available forage, can quickly result in a shortage of stores.

So be sure to check that your bees have enough food, especially if you have taken off any spring honey. Note that if you add extra frames of sealed stores you should keep them in the brood boxes, so as to avoid getting them mixed up in the honey supers. Also, if you have to feed directly, use a light syrup (i.e. 1:1 sugar/water ratio) with any honey supers taken off during the feeding process.