Starvation Risk?

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Ringlander 

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Hi, I'm based just to the West of Norwich, Norfolk and having on your advice stopped worrying about Varroa I'm now fretting about starvation.... We haven't had any significant rain here for weeks and what little nectar flow we had here a few weeks back has pretty much stopped judging by the static levels in the supers on two of my hives. One hive has just two frames of honey in the super, the other about 9. When I inspected them a few days back I noticed that the level of stores in the brood boxes was about half what it was the week before, with probably a total of no more than half of one frame of capped or open honey and about the same of pollen in each hive. Brood size is moderate, with 4-5 frames of BIAS in both hives and an egg/brood ratio of about 40%, so continuing to increase in size. Pollen is coming in thick and fast when the sun shines, but I am worried about them running out of honey over the next week or so as the weather looks like it will remain pretty dry and cold. Is starvation a realistic possibility at this time of year? Will they use the honey from the supers? Should I remove the supers and feed them syrup?
Thanks.
 

drex 

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Just to be safe, I would even out the honey/ nectar between them, as one hive has only two super frames with stores. Then they should be OK to next inspection.
 

Gilberdyke John 

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Hi, I'm based just to the West of Norwich, Norfolk and having on your advice stopped worrying about Varroa I'm now fretting about starvation.... We haven't had any significant rain here for weeks and what little nectar flow we had here a few weeks back has pretty much stopped judging by the static levels in the supers on two of my hives. One hive has just two frames of honey in the super, the other about 9. When I inspected them a few days back I noticed that the level of stores in the brood boxes was about half what it was the week before, with probably a total of no more than half of one frame of capped or open honey and about the same of pollen in each hive. Brood size is moderate, with 4-5 frames of BIAS in both hives and an egg/brood ratio of about 40%, so continuing to increase in size. Pollen is coming in thick and fast when the sun shines, but I am worried about them running out of honey over the next week or so as the weather looks like it will remain pretty dry and cold. Is starvation a realistic possibility at this time of year? Will they use the honey from the supers? Should I remove the supers and feed them syrup?
Thanks.
Regarding the reduction of stores in the brood. Don't forget an expanding colony needs laying space.
 

Amari 

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Hi, I'm based just to the West of Norwich, Norfolk and having on your advice stopped worrying about Varroa I'm now fretting about starvation....
Thanks.
Rest assured that you're not the only worry-guts! The situation is the same here in mid-Suffolk with my hives adjacent to or not far from OSR.
A few years ago I did my first extraction of sealed honey in the last week of April. More usually it's 10-15 May. This year I'm wondering if I'll get a spring crop at all!
 

oliver90owner 

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One question when, inspecting, should be “is there sufficient stores to last until the next inspection?”. If not, there are two alternatives (apart from the beekeeper being observant of the intervening weather) is to feed sufficient that it will last - or bring forward the next inspection.

A proper beekeeper will make appropriate observations and feed only if deemed necessary. A few years back there were beekeepers still feeding colonies until late May. It just needs some thinking and appropriate action - nothing unusual.
 

madasafish 

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Just fed a Nat nuc I converted from Kieler min nucs 23rd April. They are busy drawing out comb and now on just over three frames BIAS with minimal stores. Queen laying like crazy after the confines of 3 mini nuc boxes over winter.
(I fed them every month over winter as mini nucs don't hold a lot of stores and bees don't go into the food chamber over winter as it's too cold. Here at least)
 

linoleum bonypart 

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Rest assured that you're not the only worry-guts! The situation is the same here in mid-Suffolk with my hives adjacent to or not far from OSR.
A few years ago I did my first extraction of sealed honey in the last week of April. More usually it's 10-15 May. This year I'm wondering if I'll get a spring crop at all!
I didnt take a spring crop last year either
 

Murox 

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Rest assured that you're not the only worry-guts! The situation is the same here in mid-Suffolk with my hives adjacent to or not far from OSR.
A few years ago I did my first extraction of sealed honey in the last week of April. More usually it's 10-15 May. This year I'm wondering if I'll get a spring crop at all!
:smilielol5:what is a "spring crop":laughing-smiley-004 ??
 

Amari 

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:smilielol5:what is a "spring crop":laughing-smiley-004 ??
Ah, but doubtless you get an autumn crop, which we don't unless we take hives to the heather on the east coast eg Dunwich Heath. :music-smiley-026:
 

drex 

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Here in Essex I expect I will be lucky to get much of a spring crop. Hopefully Autumn will be better. Have been away for ten days. Cold here today but my bees were still flying. Will probably inspect tomorrow. Good luck Giles
 

LeaBees 

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Just fed a Nat nuc I converted from Kieler min nucs 23rd April. They are busy drawing out comb and now on just over three frames BIAS with minimal stores. Queen laying like crazy after the confines of 3 mini nuc boxes over winter.
(I fed them every month over winter as mini nucs don't hold a lot of stores and bees don't go into the food chamber over winter as it's too cold. Here at least)
Clearly a beginner question here, but should feeding be necessary at this time of year when hiving a nuc? I can understand the need in late summer/autumn. ( I of course am referring to a "normal" spring in the mid/south of the UK where there is ample forage.) Or does hiving a nuc always require feeding ?
 

Erichalfbee 

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If the bees are foraging and have a frame of food then I don’t feed. It depends on what’s happening around the bees. There is never a normal year. You have to evaluate every time.
if there is no income they get hived with one frame of foundation each side with the rest dummied down and fed a little.
 

LeaBees 

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If the bees are foraging and have a frame of food then I don’t feed. It depends on what’s happening around the bees. There is never a normal year. You have to evaluate every time.
if there is no income they get hived with one frame of foundation each side with the rest dummied down and fed a little.
I am fast understanding this is the underlying principle of beekeeping!
Cheers
 

madasafish 

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Clearly a beginner question here, but should feeding be necessary at this time of year when hiving a nuc? I can understand the need in late summer/autumn. ( I of course am referring to a "normal" spring in the mid/south of the UK where there is ample forage.) Or does hiving a nuc always require feeding ?
I would not normally feed any hive or nuc with stores.
This has minimal stores.

And the weather forecast is for rain and low temperatures for the next week. So no chance of much foraging.
Hence my feeding.


Needs must.. Feeding costs money and I am a (mean) Scot.
 

Amari 

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If the bees are foraging and have a frame of food then I don’t feed. It depends on what’s happening around the bees. There is never a normal year. You have to evaluate every time.
if there is no income they get hived with one frame of foundation each side with the rest dummied down and fed a little.
Some years are more normal than others. This year ain't one of them....

Two of my hives have become broodless, but test frame negative ie no QC, for the second time this year. I'm sure they've been able to suss the bitterly cold forecast for the coming week = no nectar income = no brood to feed.
 
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