BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Weather impact 2024

  • Environmental issues and concerns that affect beekeeping.
Environmental issues and concerns that affect beekeeping.
 #14369  by NigelP
 27 Apr 2024, 13:44
From shivering and crawling pathetically along frames to out foraging in the sun today. Amazingly there was fresh nectar in the hive at 11am.... Gave them 2 frames of stores (which I bruised) and one filled with pollen. So they are well provided for......and with warm weather forecast for next week they should be out of danger.
And like all my hives at the moment, there is sealed brood present but no young larvae. This inclement weather has caused a spring brood break in all the hives.
 #14372  by MickBBKA
 29 Apr 2024, 21:33
NBU always a month late as they only react when Southern beekeepers start suffering.
Heard several more horror stories this weekend. Their loses were 12/15 7/7 10/22
I was at Ripon 2 weeks ago and its like a different world between Thirsk and Ripon. Huge beautiful fields of OSR, dark green fields of wheat and barley. Up here OSR is destroyed, arable crops washed away and what has grown is yellow. Strangely the grass has stopped growing on the farm fields, dead lambs all over. Its so sad. :cry:
 #14373  by JoJo36
 30 Apr 2024, 07:46
Sounds dire Mick:(
The weather forecast here down south is not really improving here for at least a week!
The odd days which we've had the sun, the bees are out foraging, but, most of the time, they've been confined to the hives as its been windy, chilly and rainy!
Mine are slow to build up and I'm having to keep checking they have food. Fortunately I've overfed as usual and there are still frames of sealed syrup left which I've scratched for them to enjoy!
Role on sunnier and warmer weather:)
We'll all be saying it's too hot then :shock:
 #14374  by NigelP
 30 Apr 2024, 08:13
Been a real tester and harsh education round me. Two weeks ago I fed all the hives in an out apiary with full frames full of honey, it was cold and raining when I did it but they were out of stores. In 2 cases it wasn't enough....They scoffed the lot and starved. The rest had scoffed the lot and had a dribble of nectar left in their hives, gave them more stores and will be putting feeders on them today to give them a boost. Totally underestimated the amount of feed they need when brood rearing at this time of the year. Won't be making that mistake again.! Mind I've never experienced a spring like this before. All my queens are currently on brood breaks, hopefully this warm weather will get things back to some form of normality.
Mick, there might be fields of rape out around this area, but half been destroyed and until this week it has been so cold and wet there have been no bees flying and too cold for any rape to yield nectar.
 #14379  by MickBBKA
 04 May 2024, 01:48
Over the last 3 or 4 years I have found my colonies need more like 60lbs of stores to survive into a foraging period. Now I am a full time beekeeper I visit my colonies once a week to check on food reserves which most folk are unable to do while working full time. Mistake I made this year was not opening up colonies to check on pollen stores because of the constant rain. Even though I feed pollen sub I wasn't feeding enough at all. Next year I will use a small gazebo like cover and check regardless. Looking back on last years videos the colonies are about half the size this year. There are a lot of very good experienced keepers being caught out this year suffering significant losses.

Point to note is the 4 feral colonies I know of which have been around for a long time have all survived and look very strong. Bait hives are out hoping for those genes :D
 #14384  by AdamD
 06 May 2024, 18:02
I was sent a picture of a frame from a new beekeepers' hive last Monday with cannibalised brood - and no stores. Hopefully he has caught it just in the nick of time and put a feeder on.
Since then, the weather has warmed up and OSR is coming in thick and fast and I saw some red pollen yesterday which I recall is from Horse Chestnut.
 #14404  by MickBBKA
 22 May 2024, 02:28
I have said it before and I will say it again, I think the NBU is not fit for purpose and should be disbanded.
We have had the wettest Winter and Spring in history and the NBU were at least 4 probably 6 weeks too late in its starvation warning.
Here in the North East the bad weather has been relentless. The bees have built up using all of their stores expecting to be able to replace them but can't because its never stopped raining. The NBU have failed to react to this. I have only just removed feeders off some colonies today. There will be lots of inexperienced keepers whose colonies are starving to death and don't realise. They will be weak going into Winter and probably die but the keepers won't realise it was Spring the year before that caused it.
2012 was my first year beekeeping. Best Spring on record and worst Summer for 50 years. Drones being excluded was a bit strange to me in my first year until I realised they were starving in June. The NBU need to take action now to inform keepers their colonies could starve now that the forage has finished in some areas like mine. OSR, Horse Chestnut, Hawthorn, Dandelion all gone. Its the first time I have started my Winter feeding in May :o :shock:
 #14407  by DianeBees
 22 May 2024, 10:09
The decent weather had arrived and has now vanished here with some serious rain forecast for the next day or so.