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Mustard Dilemna

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roche 

Field Bee
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Here it is:

80 odd acres of mustard, which the bees have been working for about 3 weeks. Supers starting to get full. No sign of the flow stopping, plenty of flower buds still unopened.

From what I understand, mustard needs to be treated like rape, and taken off pretty much as soon as the flow stops. Otherwise it will crystalise and be no use to man nor insect. This means I cannot feed until the end of the flow and we have extracted, as any feed will crystalise too.

The stores are in the range 17.5% - 19.2%, so could be extracted now, other than the on-going flow.

With the season progressing, this seems to be leading to a very tight window of opportunity for feeding.

One option might be to extract then relocate colonies. I would prefer not to do that. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks,

Roche
 

roche 

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So - is it a problem if the mustard sets? Will syrup dilute it and make it easier for them to use?
 

Midland Beek 

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When people in spring find a dead colony and a load of crystallised stores they often wrongly assume that the colony has starved, when a Nosema loss is perhaps more likely. People are feeding their bees blocks of fondant these days; not that much different from crystallised honey.

Are you sure the mustard is mustard and not spring-sown OSR? Not that it matters much.

If the hives have enough food for winter, I would only feed if it was your intention to administer Fumidil. And I would leave them with the honey they are making - depending on your hive set-up. On the last point, you will know that many beeks nowadays operate double brood or brood and a half.
 

roche 

Field Bee
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Thanks MB, It's definitely mustard, had a chat with the farmer. No outward signs of nosema, but I'll take a sample from each site and do some microscopy. Planning on ensuring stores according to colony size.
 

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