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.

Low Food Stores

Message from the National Bee Unit!

In some regions of the UK beekeepers have reported excessive use of food stores due to the un-seasonally warm weather. It would be advisable that you check your colonies have adequate stores and add supplements if required. With the weather being quite variable, fondant is the best option not liquid feed.

For those of you thinking about treating your colonies with Oxalic acid, we remind you to only use approved products Api-bioxal or Oxuvar and to administer the treatment by label instruction only.

Further information about colony feeding and keeping good and accurate medicine records can be found on our website at www.nationalbeeunit.com

Low stores in hives reported!

Would members please note that reports are coming in of colonies eating up stores already provided for the winter. It is recommended therefore, that you give them a heft to ensure that they have enough stores to go through the winter and top them up if required. Whilst the bees are busy on the ivy it should not be solely relied upon to provide a sufficient quantity of liquid feed during the winter, due to its tendency to crystallize which the bees may have difficulty in accessing during the cold winter months.

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Colonies short of food?

Following the poor summer and general lack of honey during the main flow, many beekeepers are reporting that their colonies are short of food.

Could we therefore suggest as a matter of urgency, that you check your colonies for stores and if necessary put on feeders of syrup? Also, remember to check your colonies are queenright and monitor/treat for Varroa as appropriate!

Starvation Warning from the National Bee Unit

Beekeepers may wish to monitor their colony food levels closely over the next month as many colonies, particularly those which are strong and had their spring honey crop removed, will be at risk of starving. In some parts of the UK, the weather is still cold and foraging opportunities for large colonies are few and far between. It is important to check and monitor all your colonies feed levels, if you do not wish to open them up because of poor weather, lift below the floor, in turn, 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. Feed can be prepared from refined white sugar and water mixed at a 2:1 ratio or one of the proprietary ready mixed syrups available from Beekeeping equipment suppliers. More information about mixing up sugar can be found in the Best Practice Guidelines no. 7 http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

Large starving colonies of bees will take 1 gallon (approx. 5 Litres) of syrup very quickly while smaller colonies will take half a gallon (approx. 2.5 Litres). After feeding, heft the hives again and check the weight and if in doubt feed some more in a few days.