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frenchbees 

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I noticed the bees were using stores so fed with sugar syrup today. Fairly warm this afternoon (23°) and lots of activity round the hive with quite a few bees trying to enter under the roof which I've never seen before and none seem to be bringing in pollen which they were yesterday (though admittedly not that much).
Is this normal behaviour when they are fed or are they being robbed?
 
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I have read that rapid feeders disrupt the hive activity - as the bees 'have' to empty in, whereas others types allow them to take when they want. So it could be your girls are so busy on your feeder that they haven't time to collect pollen.
 

frenchbees 

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robber bees?

I have used a rapid feeder as it was supplied with the hive.
Would it make the bees try to get under the metal cover? I've never seen them do that before.
If the bees are from my hive wouldn't they access the syrup from inside?
Checked an hour later and there was a lot less activity.
 

Rosti 

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If you are using a rapid feeder then it will be an 'unusual' event for the colony and will disrupt nectar gathering. Unless your forage has suddenly decreased you should still see pollen coming in though. Syrup itself has no particular smell to attract the bees so IMO unlikley that even a covered spillage would attract in the way you describe (unless you are using lemongrass?)

You could have been witnessing trial flights? they tend to be close to the hive and slowly spiralling up from it as bees gain confidence. Robbing more usually characterised by lateral irratic flight patterns across the entrance.

I would not be tempted to over feed at this time, say 2ltr a week for a typical colony to keep them going and keep the queen laying for a couple more weeks before feeding in earnest. No point clogging the brood nest up with syrup and bringing things to a premature halt.

More importantly observe and establish the strength of pollen gathering and inspect the hive for pollen stores as well as nectar next time you go in.
 

frenchbees 

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robber bees?

Difficult to remember the flight pattern now, I think it was just a general melee in front of the hive which I would have put down to the disruption caused by the feeder if not for the bees crawling up under the metal cover. There was no fighting but my bees are pretty laid back and didn't fight wasps when they were under attack last week. It seems to be a fairly strong colony though, since the new Queen started laying early August.
Anyway, all over an hour later so probably not an attack as this would have continued for longer?
I only fed 2 lb sugar, no lemongrass, as I intend to give back the super with honey when varroa treatment finished, as a newbie just wanted to be sure and give them the opportunity to feed as the stores on the outer frames of the brood chamber were opened and empty.
 

MMJ100 

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Frenchbees,
I have been seeing activity a little like this. 50/100 bees outside the hive and "walking" around it up into the roof etc. quite a lot gathered on the ground at the back of the hive, and more gathered under the hive under the mesh flooring. All these bees seemed subdued and did not do much and seemed to over night there. I took some on a piece of paper to watch them, away from the hive and they just sat there.
There were a few (2/3) Hornets around this hive only.
All my other hives are acting normally and all the hives have pollen entering.
The other thing is that I applied Apivar last week.

I am wondering what to do?

Michael
 

frenchbees 

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robber bees?

Michael,
The bees crawling on my hive seemed pretty active and when I checked an hour later they had all gone, just normal activity around the entrance. I had just removed the first Apiguard and given the feed about 1 hour earlier. Plan to put second Apiguard in today. (Don't know if it makes sense but thought it better to feed without Apiguard?)
I was advised to use Apivar by local bee association but didn't like the sound of it and bee inspector recommended Apiguard.
I would guess if the activity you noticed doesn't continue it's not too serious, maybe initial reaction to Apivar? I'm sure more experienced beeks will have better answer.
 

Chris Luck 

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Do you really feed 2 litres of sugar a week at this time of year Rosti?

.............and call that not over feeding?

I don't feed sugar at all, (or as you all know by now use all these other treatments and manipulations), and I can't see why you should need to. My bees all do perfectly well on their own.

Sorry if apparently of topic, but it seems all the problems are from people that "mess", and I am in France.

Chris
 

MuswellMetro 

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normally i never feed syrup until late september i have no need but this year, we have bees starving "tails up" in mid august in this area, weather pattern has stopped all forage ( i have no balsam just a bit of greater willow herbs)
 

oliver90owner 

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Do you really feed 2 litres of sugar a week at this time of year Rosti?

.............and call that not over feeding?


Rosti said he would not be tempted to overfeed.

I can't see why you should need to

Some colonies in the UK would otherwise starve if not fed now. The weather for the last month has not been at all favourable in some areas. Mine are OK, with well provisioned brood boxes, but some are reported to have used stored honey for the most of the last month.

It may, of course have something to do with the strain of bee in some instances, but if you have to feed you just need to get on with it before the bees starve.

Regards, RAB
 

Chris Luck 

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Maybe I misunderstood, I thought that recently people on this forum were saying how much honey they had and were taking away?

Hmmmm.

Chris
 

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Most people take off all supers before starting Winter Thymol treatment, for 2 reasons. First if you don't the supers will smell of thymol and this could taint next year's honey, second the thymol works better with a smaller volume.

For the bigger colonies, especially those where the queen has not slowed down laying enough, if you don't feed they starve if nothing in BB. I am currently feeding a nuc and one hive that don't have enough stores, at the same time as doing thymol treatment.
 

Chris Luck 

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Yes, yes, I understand and although I don't treat as such all my supers are off for a couple of weeks now, (apart from some that are staying on all winter). Non the less they should all manage to get enough in the BB for winter without feeding and in fact there should be stores in the BB even when the supers are on, certainly in the second half of August in a "more or less natural situation". If I had 10 full frames of brood I would be far from happy believe me, at this time of year I would be concerned. I will "feed" in February, but using feeder stations in buckets away from the hives but this will be honey and wet wax capping that has been bagged after extraction.

Don't forget we have far harder winters here as well, minus 14°C is normal staying below freezing for weeks with a very strong North east wind that cuts through everything.

Chris
 

Polyanwood 

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Are your hives remote so that you are confident that you will only be feeding your bees? I wouldn't risk it otherwise.

If the ivy flow is good, it is possible that I could not feed sugar in London, even without giving back honey, but I don't like ivy clogging up the brood frames and I like putting thmol in the autumn syrup as there is eveidence that it helps against chalkbrood and Nosema, so even if there is an ivy flow, I will want to dilute it with syrup.

I bet the very cold weather where you are will stop the queen laying completely which should be a good natural way of setting back varroa.
 

Chris Luck 

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I guess I feed a few others as well, nearest hives to mine are between 1 and 2km with no feral colonies known close to me at present, otherwise we are effectively in open countryside with scattered hamlets. I'm guessing Queens probably stop laying completely perhaps the end of December and through January, kick back in the second half of February with hazel, but the hard cold will often last till the end of February and this year we had a sharp frost on the 15th May followed by a beautiful hot day. It's a strange climate, 30°C sometimes in March.

Strong Ivy flow here at the moment and the bees are also taking in very large quantities of water.

Chris
 

MuswellMetro 

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If the ivy flow is good, it is possible that I could not feed sugar in London, even without giving back honey, but I don't like ivy clogging up the brood frames.

Hi P&W

In NW7 london my flow has totally dried up this year ( no balsam here) probably as i in a horse pasture area rather than gardens and ivy not yet in

Are your bees still foraging on a reasonable flow
 

Juststarting 

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Returning to Normandy - I understand that when bees are feed - they signal to each other that food is near by but cant indicate that its "upstairs" so many are likely to rush out of the hive and look around the near area to find the food. Eventually they seem to get the message thats its in the hive and there is less activity. I think this is why its recommended to feed for the first time at night - that way they dont alert robber bees that they is food nearby and have "calmed down" by the morning.

Others might suggest different reason - I've not seen it myself but was told it on a course. Hope this helps.
 

Rosti 

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Do you really feed 2 litres of sugar a week at this time of year Rosti?

.............and call that not over feeding?

I don't feed sugar at all, (or as you all know by now use all these other treatments and manipulations), and I can't see why you should need to. My bees all do perfectly well on their own.

Sorry if apparently of topic, but it seems all the problems are from people that "mess", and I am in France.

Chris
Chris, the easy answer is 'no' I would not routinely feed 2ltr a week come what may and obviously would not feed if I had a super on. I feed if I find critically low stores otherwise I try and stay out of the colonies nutrition until autumn feeding. I did have a situation where 3 of my hives were critically low on stores (early August, post honey harvest as it happened) and I did feed. In that instance they each got 2ltr to get them back on their feet and then 2 weeks later (after inspection) 2 hives got another 2ltr. All are self sufficient again (I think I had a lull due to weather and before balsam kicked in).
The point I was making was to feed enough as required to sustain but not to allow significant storage which would reduce available laying area, or too little so the queen slackens off laying too early - the last thing you want this time of year. From my observations 2ltrs does a large colony comfortably for 7-10 days (inc brood feeding, pollen supplies permitting) which corresponds to the frequency with which I am able to get to my hives.
 
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frenchbees 

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robber bees?

Thanks Juststarting, that makes a lot of sense as after an hour everything was back to normal.
On the subject of feeding, the 2 lb sugar syrup was completely gone 24 hours later so I guess they needed it.
Apart from about 40 mm 2 weeks ago we have had no appreciable rain all summer and are parched. Hopefully the rain forecast for tonight will actually arrive.
 

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