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NBU warning doesn't this happen every year.

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Exactly but the problem this year is that it has been unseasonably mild with little forage. My hives were winter ready at the end of October but they are light now because they have been out most days and have continued to brood. So I have plonked fondant on them for the first time before Christmas ever........... and so have lots of people
Absolutely right DanI, I‘m in the same position. If by plonking fondant on that they turn out not to need, makes me a “bee haver” then so be it.

Many folk haven’t “had” bees long enough to make the judgements some on here are professing should be made. So cut us some slack and if we have to remove the odd frame of uneaten food in the Spring - well we can use it to maintain nucs.
That was a tip the same folk were putting out in other threads.
 
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Absolutely right DanI, I‘m in the same position. If by plonking fondant on that they turn out not to need, makes me a “bee haver” then so be it.

Many folk haven’t “had” bees long enough to make the judgements some on here are professing should be made. So cut us some slack and if we have to remove the odd frame of uneaten food in the Spring - well we can use it to maintain nucs.
That was a tip the same folk were putting out in other threads.
I have no issue with feeding fondant ... and this is the general forum so hopefully the people playing in here will have the sense to undestand that the consequences of overfeeding are that there may be a need to remove frames of stores from hives in the Spring. These frames of stores can be very useful for feeding swarms or starting off Nucs.

The cautions I put forward are the results of seeing some beekeepers (and not always new beekeepers) who take the supers off mid August (working to what the book says) when there may still be another month or two of good forage left (certainly in my area) and the prospect of a good flow from the Ivy. In these cirumstances the bees will often fill the brood box with honey from their own foraging but ...

They immediately slap on a feeder with syrup and keep feeding for weeks ... until the bees stop taking the syrup down and then they slap a whopping slab of fondant on top of the frames as they have been told to 'just in case' .... Just in case of what ? If the box is full then there should be sufficient stores to see the colony through until early spring ... in some colonies - well beyond.

The reality is that doing things by rote, on the day the beekeeping calendar says it should be done - without any thought about either what they are doing, whether it is necessary and what the possible consequences are, is not good practice. The people who have not kept bees for long are often advised badly by people who have been advised badly by those before and whilst they may have kept up with more up to date ideas - they overlay them on top of, rather than instead of, previous practices.

Feeding bees, if you take the majority of the honey they produce, is a necessity - it has always been thus ... the problem is, as I said earlier, that overfeeding has consequences that - if not corrected in spring - will hinder spring build up and can lead to early swarming.

Feeding bees fondant is not bad ... doing it when it is not needed or 'just in case' ... can have consequences.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Many folk haven’t “had” bees long enough to make the judgements some on here are professing should be made.
Especially this year when many have ventured into the dark art of beekeeping and, due to circumstances beyond their control have ended up sans teaching, sans mentoring and with minimal hands on assistance.
But whilst it's OK to advise total beginners that it's OK to slap some fondant on 'just in case' it would be negligent of us not to encourage them to think about autumn feeding and stores monitoring in the future, so as they gain experience, good husbandry is always at the back of their minds.
 
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Especially this year when many have ventured into the dark art of beekeeping
Sorry, I've seen that phrase before here, and I'm not exactly sure what it refers to. Is it the way some people view the craft of beekeeping (arcane) - or the way they go about finding out how to do it (YT, social media etc)? Or something else?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Sorry, I've seen that phrase before here, and I'm not exactly sure what it refers to. Is it the way some people view the craft of beekeeping (arcane) - or the way they go about finding out how to do it (YT, social media etc)? Or something else?
It's a lighthearted comment, nothing more - unlike 'the dark side' somewhere you don't really want to venture unless wearing the correct PPE
 
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Sorry, I've seen that phrase before here, and I'm not exactly sure what it refers to. Is it the way some people view the craft of beekeeping (arcane) - or the way they go about finding out how to do it (YT, social media etc)? Or something else?
I think, to some extent, those people outside of beekeeping circles do view beekeeping as a 'dark art' ... it's something they don't really understand, are often fascinated by and they view beekeepers as a strange lot who delve into stinging insects and speak a different language that only those involved understand. There is a certain mistique about beekeeping and this has probably been encouraged by generations of beekeepers wishing to keep their craft a little secret ...perhaps not a dark art but maybe considered by some as such ... theres a slight resemblance to witchcraft at times !
 

janetbee 

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Beautiful pictures- lovely idea to add the flower pics with the pollen grains.
 
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A social barrier we have to battle with in some parts of Africa - especially Lesotho
Yes ... it was a bit like that in my days there ... our agent refused to work with us on a contract we had won with the government to supply some cooking pots because he had consulted with the Sangoma and she had told him it was lelonolo to work on it (sort of bad luck but worse). No amount of financial inducement would change his mind ... she was probably right because in apartheid days we had to buy them in south africa about 20 miles from the Lesotho border... export them to Germany where the packer removed any labelling referring to south Africa.. pack them in new boxes and then ship them round to Cape and then overland to Lesotho where they ended up about 20 miles from where they set off 2 months earlier! We got round it by agreeing to pay the Sangoma to perform a cleansing on the shipment when it arrived and before our agent went anywhere near it .... sometime you just have to take a pragmatic view ...
 

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I think, to some extent, those people outside of beekeeping circles do view beekeeping as a 'dark art' ... it's something they don't really understand, are often fascinated by and they view beekeepers as a strange lot who delve into stinging insects and speak a different language that only those involved understand. There is a certain mistique about beekeeping and this has probably been encouraged by generations of beekeepers wishing to keep their craft a little secret ...perhaps not a dark art but maybe considered by some as such ... theres a slight resemblance to witchcraft at times !
But isn't that the same with all specialism's? Most people outside the circle of the practitioners won't understand the jargon and you keep it that way to appear exclusive.

Getting back to the NBU the 'art' of beekeeping is part of the problem they have. They have to treat beekeeping as a science so do this, this and this and this will be the result, and it should always be the result. That works and it will produce live bees at the end but if you want the bees to thrive you then need an experienced beekeeper either live or on a forum such as this one to say to you if you also do this then your bees will do so much better and that's where the art part comes in.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Most people outside the circle of the practitioners won't understand the jargon and you keep it that way to appear exclusive.
Not exclusive, simply understandable.
 

gmonag 

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In defence of the NBU, if inspectors are finding starving colonies, it is only right that they should publish a general warning. I'm sure most beeks don't need it though.
 

Apple 

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Well I did get some honey and contrary to my observations it is largely Balsam and Rosebay
A friend looked at the pollen for me and did thisView attachment 23201
Problem has been that the nectaries were empty.. so little honey from them this season.
Some are saying that they had an early season flow into the hives ( NOT FLOWHIVES !) of OSR which was either consumed by the colony... and basically the rest of the season was so bereft of nectar, what little the bees stored has been left for them to overwinter on.
Problem has been that some beekeepers thought this would bee enough and have not fed!
I do not think fondant is going to save them....
High winter losses on the horizon???

Nadelik Lowen
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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In defence of the NBU, if inspectors are finding starving colonies, it is only right that they should publish a general warning.
But most SBI's get laid off at the beginning of October - nearly two months ago
 
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