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  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #9540  by AdamD
 29 Nov 2020, 10:58
November 27th - another starvation warning from the NBU:-

"Observations from beekeepers and Bee Inspectors across the UK suggest that some colonies of bees are becoming short of food.

Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter. If they need feeding at this time then fondant should be used. This should be placed above the brood nest so that the bees are able to access it easily".

It's fair to say that the warm October and little available forage has meant that some of my colonies are light, so it's worth checking hives and getting fondant in if use is anticipated. I have just ordered some from BAKO.
 #9541  by Steve 1972
 29 Nov 2020, 16:07
All but three of mine have fondant on the top bars..they will all be checked tomorrow and topped up if required..
 #9547  by MickBBKA
 04 Dec 2020, 00:20
I heft my colonies weekly from the start of November until they first start to bring in stores the following spring. Lazy beekeeping if you have to be told to check for starvation in winter imho. Yes I still get caught out as working 6 days a week and weather means it can be impossible to access some of my apiaries but folks who put them to bed in October until the fondant Christmas present want a boot up the backside..LOL

Cheers, Mick.
 #9551  by Chrisbarlow
 04 Dec 2020, 09:55
I suspect your right Mick but every year we get emails from the nbu about starvation warnings. A reflection on initial training and post training support given by associations maybe?
 #9554  by mikemadf
 04 Dec 2020, 10:01
My message to all new beekeepers is always:
"overfeeding your bees can be remedied. Underfeeding kills them"

And then I add: "underfeeding makes Spring nuc suppliers rich"

It's blunt but usually remembered,
 #9558  by Patrick
 04 Dec 2020, 13:49
There are several reasons why colonies get light, and all of them detectable simply by trying to lift at least one side of the hive. If it’s really heavy they are unlikely to be running short. Simples.

I think we have a combination of problems. Bees forage differently in different locations and are at different strengths in terms of foragers. Where they are naturally at in terms of retained stores will be different. Their use of stores and nectar sources is also (in my area) changing quite noticeably. They are still significantly raising brood later and actively flying into December at least. We have had only two frosts so far this year and they both burned off quickly.

I think the old advice to start hefting in Feb or whatever is out of date and like Mick, I take the opportunity to give them a quick lift most times I visit from early autumn. Call it climate change or variable weather, but mild and wet winters are becoming more the norm over the last two decades and we need to respond accordingly. Beginner courses need to encourage attendees to know and respond to what is in front of them, not just do what the tutor does in their location.