Should they be up to weight yet?

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Do224

Drone Bee
Joined
May 27, 2020
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Location
Cumbria
Hive Type
National
When do you USUALLY like your bees to be up to weight by? I’m sure it varies year to year and depending where in the country you are…
 
Usually!!! o_OYou assume correctly with location, weather and forage to consider. Time of the year is very broad where I am. Last year I had all my hives bursting with bees til around now, they were not “up to weight” and still kicking out drones in October. This year late forage has been poor as has the weather for flying but they are heavier now than last year because I have been feeding. Ivy is trickling in now so by mid October I shall assess the hives again and add slabs of fondant accordingly. In the south and at lower elevations it may be that you don’t need to assess til November. As your question suggested there is no fixed time as you cannot “beekeep by numbers”. Monitor and respond accordingly.
 
Mid coastal Wales
Mine have had little feed, apart from one nuc. That’s it for the year. I’ll assess again in January
 
Probably end of October for me in London. Weighed the 3 main hives last weekend and they had about 15, 20 and 25lbs of stores so will give it further 3 or so weeks to see what ivy they bring in and whether they need feeding. Not set in stone though as the weather could drastically change from the current mild conditions. Have fed a couple of small hives as they were low on stores.
 
Too soon here for full stores , winter bees laying space is needed .
When I last physically checked they all had circa 20lbs of stores, so have been hefting to check weight/heaviness.
Some light syrup and fondant feeding on the hives but also aware that Ivy may be availabe as in the past it has been a good top up source.
I will likely have a final quick check on stores in mid Oct given a fine day to decide what extra they may or may not need.
 
Exactly the sort of info I was hoping for, thanks. Would be great to get a few more responses from different areas of the country too…
 
With milder Autumns and winters we need to act on what we see and not be dictated to by past actions from the previous 40 or 50 years. Brood rearing becoming a little longer and changes in forage condition & availability.
This year I'm seeing far far more phacelia or Fireweed pollen in my colonies then previous years.
 
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Most of mine are “getting there”. Most are at the 2-3 fingers stage but none are at the “nailed down” stage yet.
I’ll let them top up with a bit of ivy and then a bit more fondant in a months time.
 
Mine are on double brood poly, so no worries about space and as the colonies were running on fumes back in August, I have been feeding. Now all are heavy but not “nailed down” - one remains quite a lot lighter than the others, but last Winter consumed much less than the others.
As the ivy is still in bud around here (and could be missed if the weather changes) and the balsam is all but over, I am continuing to feed. This year is proving heavy on feeding as there’s a combination of really big populations of bees that had exhausted stores in August, when from four colonies I took as much as eleven pounds of sealed honey, but started feeding unsealed honey back.
I‘m not good at estimating stores by hefting, so will probably end up over doing it, but that’s ok as I can use unused frames of stores for the inevitable nucs that will arise out of poor swarm control come May!🤨
 
Mixed here, generally getting heavier but none ready yet. Ivy coming in, feeding some either syrup or fondant but am not piling it on.
 
Mine are all just moderately heavy I’d say..certainly not nailed down. They were starving in August so they were fed a bit then and then trickle fed since. There’s still a few bees coming in with HB but I’d say they’re mostly on the ivy now. Heavy loads of bright orange pollen and lots of activity when the weather allows.

I was going to pile some 2:1 on in the next few days but having pondered on the various comments from others I think I’ll wait another week or so. Hopefully the weather will allow them to take advantage of the ivy in the meantime. If I load them up with 2:1 at the end of the first week of Oct then winter bees should finish emerging around end of Oct, which feels about right from the impression Im getting…

Barring an October heatwave, that’s my plan…
 
After chomping through their stores in August, most hives have completely filled at least one super which has been nadired. One hive needed a light feed as they were seriously short on stores and ditto two nucs. The rest seem to be still foraging well on later summer flowers - sedum, asters, persicaria and a nearby field of phacelia. Ivy is still in bud.
I’ll check again in October.
 
Let's hope folks in the S/E coastal fringes and inland don't see too much V.v activity then.
 
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