Check your hives for stores...!!

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skydragon 

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On noticing that one of my hives had started eating through the honey in their supers, rather than bringing in more... I did a quick check on my other hives and found all of them had little/no stores. (One of the hives was packed with brood and bees but had absolutely no stores on any of the frames and was very light). A beek friend nearby also has exactly the same position on his hives.

It may be that other parts of UK are OK and that this part of the world (East Yorks) is suffering more than most with a spell of very dry weather followed by colder/wet weather, but the bees are obviously having a hard time in gathering stores. Bizzarely there seems to be plenty of pollen being brought in, when observing the bees at the hive entrance.

All my hives now have feeders on them.

Reason I post this, is that I had presumed that with it being only mid August that there would be loads of foriage available for the bees.... I'm pretty sure however that if I hadn't put feeders on them now, that they wouldn't have made it into winter.

I'm still fairly new to this myself, but for all you newbeeks out there, if you haven't already.... get a feeder on your hives/nukes now!! (It can't do any harm at this time of year).
 

milkermel 

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just posted something similar, I have a super on with stores but stores below in brood box are almost non existant.

dont want to feed as such but if something doesnt appear below then will have to I guess
 

skydragon 

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In the knowledge that where I am located it is unlikely that they will add honey to the supers now (they were eating through them at a fair rate) I extracted yesterday.

The capped honey I kept and jarred. The uncapped honey I extracted and have fed back to the bees along with some sugar syrup in a feeder.

You may want to consider doing something similar, so your bees can be encouraged to build up stores in the BB.

If we have another long cold winter, the bees will need all the stores they can in the BB.
 

Beezy 

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My bees have 4/5 frames of stores in bb. I've removed the super as I've started apiguard treatment, but plan to put it back after the 4 weeks. Will the 4/5 frames be enough to sustain the bees for the next month or is it likely that I'll need to feed them?
 

Heather 

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I would feed as soon as treatment stops, personally. I would rather they stored my 2:1 syrup than ivy.
 

MuswellMetro 

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just posted something similar, I have a super on with stores but stores below in brood box are almost non existant.

dont want to feed as such but if something doesnt appear below then will have to I guess
i think following your other post, we need to know your mode of operation and ethos, as from your post so far made, you will end up with four empty boxes in spring

your have got to get "food" into your brood area, whether that is honey sugar or tate and lyle sugar. only you know your bees, so do they need a small box or a larger box?

if you brood area is seperated by a QE from the food your queen will starve,

even if you remove ithe QE in oct/november means the queen will be reluctant to move up to the super and food and they will most liley starve.

you need to think, how you are going to get 15kg-20kg of food into the brood area by winter
 

oliver90owner 

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I'm still fairly new to this myself, but for all you newbeeks out there, if you haven't already.... get a feeder on your hives/nukes now!! (It can't do any harm at this time of year).

New beeks,

Thanks for the heads up, but as a non-new beek, my plan today was to go and check the situation with most of my colonies. Only then will I decide whether a feeder is needed on any at this stage. No need for 'must do now' instructions from anyone; The UK is a large place when making such blanket direction to all new beeks.

This was reported on the forum (from the north-west region) up to two weeks ago, so everyone on here should be aware of that situation and acting accordingly.

No need for knee-jerk reactions, just advice to be checking, monitoring the situation and taking early action if the signs are observed (before the symptoms become acute).

Regards, RAB
 

Polyanwood 

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Great advice Rab. I am feeding one of my ten colonies and one nuc, because they need feeding - no stores at all - and the others don't. I want to leave room for Winter bees to be made. Feeding can wait.

I also would prefer syrup rather than ivy stores Heather, not just becuase ivy sets like rock, but because the Autumn syrup I feed is thymolated, so helps protect against chalkbrood and nosema too. I therefore think that thyomolated syrup is better than honey as food in Autumn.

Any one agree with me?
 

MuswellMetro 

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My bees have 4/5 frames of stores in bb. I've removed the super as I've started apiguard treatment, but plan to put it back after the 4 weeks. Will the 4/5 frames be enough to sustain the bees for the next month or is it likely that I'll need to feed them?
,

short answer yes,4/5 is ok but again are they on standard brood as in london thats quite small for ?AMx

i would expect with that amount of stores in the brood it is a june Nuc in a standard brood box , am i correct

so you need to decide how you are going next year, 14x12, brood and half or double brood, otherwise you will not contain their swarm instinct, so plan now

london where you and i live is a micro climate, i have seen my bees bring in pollen on a warm day in frebruary so we are different here. Apiguard well you could have delayed it in london, i am doing mine this weekend but could have left it in london until the BH weekend but forage stopped early due to drought
 

Beezy 

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'short answer yes,4/5 is ok but again are they on standard brood as in london thats quite small for ?AMx'


Hi MM,

What's AMx?

Yes, it's a June nuc in a standard national. I've got 5 full frames of stores in the super (I extracted another one, and the other frames in that super weren't capped so I extracted them as didn't want them to ferment) and will put those back on the hive after the treatment.

Was going to bruise them so the bees will move the stores into their bb (and will feed as necc), as I'm overwintering them just in the bb. Next Spring I intend to switch to 14x12 though.

Thanks,
 

skydragon 

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No need for knee-jerk reactions, just advice to be checking, monitoring the situation and taking early action if the signs are observed (before the symptoms become acute).
No knee-jerk reaction, just trying to help those who may not (yet) have the knowledge or experience to know how much stores are required in a hive to successfully overwinter, or realise that this is a key issue to be aware of.

Does anyone have a link to a definative guide on feeding a hive up for winter (how, when, how much, key issues/risks etc?)
 
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oliver90owner 

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...all you newbeeks out there, if you haven't already.... get a feeder on your hives/nukes now!! (It can't do any harm at this time of year).

Skyhook,

The above was your message? I stand by my advice because you are trying to push all the new beeks into a course of action that may not be appropriate

Yours certainly seems to be a 'knee jerk' reaction because of the later part of your post where you said 'I had presumed that with it being only mid August that there would be loads of foriage available for the bees'. Bees can starve at any time of the year, given the wrong assumption, at that time, that they have adequate forage or stores.

Further, yes it can do harm. There are potential brood cycles out there yet and simply filling a nuc with sugar honey is not going to promote brooding, IMO and many others out there.

Read post #8. It might become apparent to you that not all colonies everywhere need feeding at the present time.

The help is to advise checking, not to actually do it, where not appropriate. A subtle difference in our methods of beekeeping. Maybe we need a poll to see how many do it your way, and how many do it the sensible way.

RAB
 

MuswellMetro 

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Hi MM,

What's AMx?


Thanks,
sorry, AMx a bit of shorthand for the standard honey bee mongrel in london

apis mellifera Cross of variuos bees, rather than apis mellifera mellifera the black bee

if you sources your bees from within the M25 then most likely AM crosses btewen italains and carnies

london bees tend to be very light coloured and this sugguest a high mix of italaian with a hint of carnies and AMM stock

This differs from the standard mongrel bees say in the midlands which are darker


i would do as you are doing, feed back excess honey after varroa treatment then suppliment with 2:1 syrup i add 2gm of Vit C per 2ltrs of syrup but thats not normally in the book
 

skydragon 

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RAB, I think you've missed my point, I'm not trying to push anyone into a course of action, just trying to alert those not aware. Let's try and be helpful rather than argue;

Regarding checking -

How does a beek check for sufficient stores and what exactly should they look for?

What should trigger feeding with syrup and with how much and for how long?

What are the pros/cons of feeding a light hive at this point in the season?
 

Finman 

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In summer to me minimum store in normal hive is 2 full frames of honey or sugar.
In Langstroth it means 5 kg sugar.

It it is a nuc, 4 frame nuc should have one full frame of honey. It is about 2 kg.

If August is rainy here, hives often use 15 honey in month.
 

milkermel 

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Last year I only had a brood box and stores were 4/5 frames with stores above brood as I expected.

As I said on last inspection there were store in bb but now little but stores up top.
had an incline this wasnt satisfactory, glad i asked!
 

victor meldrew 

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No way are any feeders going on my lot just yet thank you!
The various willow herbs haven't finished producing, the balsam certainly hasn't peaked, golden rod isn't over , In fact a colony that refused to put anything in the supers , suddenly made it's mind up to fill one in one week flat .
I always have this dilemma regards to thymol based varroa treatments being put on too late (according to the pundits)
I use Hive makers method with winter feed , but do use oxalic acid end of December !.
Warn newbies by all means but remember , the swarming season certainly isn't over by any means either.
Stuffing the brood boxes too early ,especially during a honey flow as is the case around here could stimulate swarming ?

John Wilkinson
 

skydragon 

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So to recap, what I'm hearing/learning so far is;

- You need to take each hive (and geographical area) at it's own merit and assess each hive's stores individually.

- When inspecting each hive, ideally you should expect to see an arch of honey over each frame of brood. plus at least one other frame of stores.

- Consider feeding if not enough stores are found, but be aware that at this point in the year (Mid August) overfeeding, or feeding when a sudden flow comes on, could do two things;

a) Possibly Induce swarming
b) May reduce the available brood area to a point where it then adversely affects the colonies ability to produce decent brood for winter.


So....

I guess the sensible strategy is;

On inspecting hive at this time of year (Mid August), if stores appear light, then feed only enough to replace the 'missing stores'. I'm guessing this would be approx 1 litre of heavy (2:1) syrup for every brood frame with no arch of stores, and 2 - 3 litres for every full frame of stores 'missing'. Then inspect after a week and see if the stores situation is now ok - and if not re-feed as appropriate.

So in the example case of one of my light hives, which has 5 full frames of 14x12 brood and absolutely no stores at all. That would be approx 7 - 8 litres of heavy syrup?

I guess there must come a point later in the year (End Sept dependant on weather???) when it's ok to feed more heavily?

Views?

Advice?
 

Beezy 

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'sorry, AMx a bit of shorthand for the standard honey bee mongrel in london'

Thanks for clarifying MM. We should have a section for abbreviations!
 
T

Tom Bick 

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So to recap, what I'm hearing/learning so far is;

- You need to take each hive (and geographical area) at it's own merit and assess each hive's stores individually.

- When inspecting each hive, ideally you should expect to see an arch of honey over each frame of brood. plus at least one other frame of stores.

- Consider feeding if not enough stores are found, but be aware that at this point in the year (Mid August) overfeeding, or feeding when a sudden flow comes on, could do two things;

a) Possibly Induce swarming
b) May reduce the available brood area to a point where it then adversely affects the colonies ability to produce decent brood for winter.


So....

I guess the sensible strategy is;

On inspecting hive at this time of year (Mid August), if stores appear light, then feed only enough to replace the 'missing stores'. I'm guessing this would be approx 1 litre of heavy (2:1) syrup for every brood frame with no arch of stores, and 2 - 3 litres for every full frame of stores 'missing'. Then inspect after a week and see if the stores situation is now ok - and if not re-feed as appropriate.

So in the example case of one of my light hives, which has 5 full frames of 14x12 brood and absolutely no stores at all. That would be approx 7 - 8 litres of heavy syrup?

I guess there must come a point later in the year (End Sept dependant on weather???) when it's ok to feed more heavily?

Views?

Advice?
Yes to most of your post skydragon apart from if it was me perhaps only a couple of litres of emergency feeding and then asses what they have done with it and then reassess.

Winter feeding start in early September and not the end you have to watch out for the Ivy although a nectar source for the bees you dont want them to fill the BB with it and it flowers during September October.
 
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