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drex 

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Getting a little concerned. First year. Today was nice and warm so thought I would have a quick look at how they were doing in preparation for winter.

All my colonies in National BB ready for winter. 2 colonies are strong, 2-3 frames of brood, and rest ( apart from outer frames - which are drawn ) full of stores.

One colony is weaker. 2 frames of brood - the queen was not laying very well, until I boosted with a frame of brood left over from a unite, which seems to have given her encouragement. Only about 4 frames of stores - but covered with bees. All the rest of the frames have drawn comb ( apart from outer faces of outer frames), but they do not seem to be filling them. This colony in particular are being very slow at taking 2:1 syrup ( about 1L in last week). I had been using a bulk feeder as that had worked on others, but last week I changed this colony to a contact feeder, but has made no difference.

Bees and brood look healthy and today they were foraging well, bringing in pollen.

Getting worried at lack of time to feed them up before closing down for winter.
Advice please
 

Rosti 

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Drex, depends on exact feeder style you are using and local weather (temperature) with you but I would suggest your are toward the end of viable syrup feeding, especially given the energy they'll expend to fan it down and then the heat that will be lost with that expelled moist air. Perhaps (if you feel you really still need to feed) better to switch over to fondant above a feed hole and make sure you have packed plenty of bubble wrap in to fill up voids in the feeding eke above the crown board and then place good insultaion above it. Certainly that's the route I'd be going coming into Nov.
 

beebreeder 

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have you got a contact that can test for Nosema? as bees with Nosema cannot feed properly, on the other hand they may have all they want, when I started beekeeping many years ago I was told "feed them until they take no more" but its getting very late for syrup feed now as they have to be able to get the water out again and as it gets colder that gets more difficult for the bees and can lead to fermenting stores.
 

drex 

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I will contact local BKA and find out about Nosema testing, but if positive how would I then treat. Does Fumidil not go into the syrup? and if they are not taking the syrup?
 

oliver90owner 

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As others have said: nosema - feed fumidil-B in thich syrup onto the top bars of the frames for a couple of doses then in a feeder.

Yes, getting late for sugar syrup. Is your crownboard insulated (as well as the feedr on sides and above. Every litle helps at this late stage. Beware of syrup taken down and not capped.

Confining the colony to a volume which only includes full frames will aid a small colony to keep warm. Moving them to a nucleus hive might be considered also.

All my garden colonies have been busy even today when sunny earlier and the three small colonies I checked this pm (2 in poly nucs) had comb built to the coverboard/roofs. That indicates to me that they will be OK for stores until at least Christmas and likely much later.

Fondant on the top bars or over the feed hole in the coverboard is the winter replacement for sugar syrup - but make sure that coverboard is well insulated!

Regards, RAB
 

drex 

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Thanks RAB,

Yes well insulated with 50mm of kingspan on top.

Can you explain about strategy for Fumidil. It will take me a while to organise testing and I do not have any Fumidil at present. However have just looked in Hooper and he says "dose is fed to a colony in 14lb of granulated sugar dissolved in 7 pts of water".

As I have said they are not taking syrup, and you and others are telling me it is getting late for sugar syrup, anyway, so how do I treat?

I will take empty frames out and have some twin walled polycarbonate dummies I have made up, so will put those in. Should I give fondant, then treat for Nosema in spring?
 

Mike a 

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As I have said they are not taking syrup, and you and others are telling me it is getting late for sugar syrup, anyway, so how do I treat?
If all else fails
Make up 1-2 pints worth and put some into a feeder or drizzle it into empty cells on one or two frames and a small amount into a spray bottle and lightly mist them to encourage them to clean each other.
 

Hivemaker. 

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If a colony has heavy nosema infection,mix 2g fumidil into 1 litre thin syrup and spray all bee's on the combs, 3 times a few days apart,then feed with normal medicated syrup.
 

drstitson 

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feeding and insulation

I'm fitting my high sided crownboards (with 4 way disc) with blocks of space board with central cut-out for fondant over the feed hole. insulated conventional crownboard will go on top.
 

oliver90owner 

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Another alternative: make up some 2:1 sugar :water with fumidl-B at chosen strength and simplly dribble a line of liquid along the frame top bars and see if the bees clear it. Repeat a couple of times, or more, and then try dosing them via the feeder. Stronger (contration of fumidil) and less of it will have to do. I think each full colony should be dosed with about 160mg of active nconstituent, but would need to check. Testing first is best, though; unecessary treatment will only delay correcting the real malady.

Regards, RAB
 

Hivemaker. 

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Rab,athough still worth trying,the problem with that method is that nosemic bee's do not tend to take the medicated syrup,no more from the top bars than they would from a contact feeder,hence the reason for spraying/misting them with the treatment.....better to dribble the solution down between the frames onto the bee's than on the top bars. Not much good making the mixture up stronger in a feeder either, many will simply not touch the stuff if too strong.
 

Hombre 

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I'm fitting my high sided crownboards (with 4 way disc) with blocks of space board with central cut-out for fondant over the feed hole. insulated conventional crownboard will go on top.
You'll probably be OK until the weather warms up a bit in the early spring. Your 4 way disk will almost certainly get propolised, so the 4 way bit will not be exactly dial up quality for long.

In the spring the cut out, given four colonies, on at least one will be significantly enlarged by the bees doing their own thing. If you have another sheet of space board over the cut out one, consider a polythene cover sheet to protect the top sheet and, when you have the opportunity, think about strengthening the cut out area, with glue, gaffa tape or emulsion paint. I have experienced the problem - it's exactly what I did last year and the bees came through wonderfully - but haven't made the fix yet.

I'm going to make a couple of ekes with the offcuts.
 
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