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mel1of4 

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Thanks everyone for your comments on my last thread.
Been reading some of the other threads and would like to ask: lots of people saying don't feed too early, you should be raising bees not making stores. How do you judge this? My bees had lots of room and lots of flowers but no stores at all. Surely if I give them syrup (which I have done) they will use this to make brood until they judge it is time to stop doing that and put down stores for winter? If I didn't feed them they wouldn't be able to make brood. When would you start autumn feeding in the North of England?
Many thanks in confusion
 

Finman 

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, bees store winter food in one week.
You need not 2 months to that or 1 month either.

emergency feeding is another story.
 

bobandbec 

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My own way of working is to give them a slowish feed when I take the honey off (now) if there isn't much coming in. If they've got balsam around or some other good forage I don't bother.
This helps in producing the brood for the Winter bees.
At the same time I'm treating for varroa.
Then at the end of August/1st week in September I'll feed more heavily/quickly on all colonies, if it is needed, to provide the stores needed for over Wintering.
So to me it's a two stage job, bees then stores.

Peter
 

Skyhook 

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One thing I'm not clear on- when you give them winter stores, will they fill the brood frames completely, or do they keep some cells empty as a brood area?
 

Finman 

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Honey flow is over, but i cannot feed bees, because they have 4-6 boxes now.
They are making just winterbees and i cannot know do they need 1 or 2 box for winter.
I wait that summer bees die and i may squeeze bees to winter space.
Hive max have now 6 box but at the beginning of September it has 1 or 2 boxes.
 

BDaddy 

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Hi,
This is a problem occurring throughout Cumbria at the moment. The bottom line is if your bees are very short of stores to the point where there is a serious concern for their welfare (i.e. close to starvation) then feed them and keep feeding them. Up here you have until approx the third week in October to make sure they are "ready" for the winter. This is a catch twenty two situation. If they are short on stores they will reduce the amount of brood they produce and you need this to see them through the winter. If you've still got a super on them and its not being drawn out and filled remove it and concentrate on getting the colony to its maximum strength. You need to be proactive rather than reactive and the last thing you want is to delay a course of action to the point where you will be seriously in danger of loosing the colony altogether. Remember, what you do now will have an impact on what happens next year!

Regards
BD
 

Finman 

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Hi,
This is a problem occurring throughout Cumbria at the moment. The bottom line is if your bees are very short of stores to the point where there is a serious concern for their welfare (i.e. close to starvation) then feed them and keep feeding them.
Regards
BD
That is very different question than fill the hive with winter food in July or August.

It is not rare that I must feed hives with sugar in June. Never had happened that in July or in August during my 47 years.

What I have understood, in UK folks try to over winter too small colonies, and that means that they do not understand how to grow bees and take care of big brood area.

That I cannot understand that you take off the yield and at once start winter feeding.
 

gavin 

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That is very different question than fill the hive with winter food in July or August.

It is not rare that I must feed hives with sugar in June. Never had happened that in July or in August during my 47 years.

What I have understood, in UK folks try to over winter too small colonies, and that means that they do not understand how to grow bees and take care of big brood area.

That I cannot understand that you take off the yield and at once start winter feeding.
I can indeed see that you don't understand Finman. Summers here can be very different from Finland. This was one of the wettest Julys ever in some places. BDaddy was saying take off your unused super and feed. Feeding now with light syrup will help build the colony and supply the young bees for the winter. Feeding heavy syrup later will give them their winter food unless they can find it themselves before then.

G.
 

gavin 

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Met Office site, summary for July:

July saw over twice the normal rainfall in a broad swathe from west Wales through north-west England, southern and eastern Scotland to Shetland. It was also wetter than normal across most of the rest of Scotland and Wales, and in Northern Ireland. In sharp contrast, much of the Midlands, eastern and southern England were very dry with less than half the normal amount in counties from Cambridgeshire to Sussex.
 

Finman 

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I can indeed see that you don't understand Finman. Summers here can be very different from Finland. This was one of the wettest Julys ever in some places. BDaddy was saying take off your unused super and feed. Feeding now with light syrup will help build the colony and supply the young bees for the winter. Feeding heavy syrup later will give them their winter food unless they can find it themselves before then.

G.
I understand very well if I hear the circumstancies. I know too that you have autumn over one month later than us.

There are different kind of feeding:

* emergency

* stimulating brooding

* winter feeding.

* feed the swarm in order to replace honey with sugar

Sorry, I understand better than you there. I dso not keep an one hive owner as an expert.

Then some say that you have in autumn and in winter so much brood that I cannot understand...
 

Finman 

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Met Office site, summary for July:

July saw over twice the normal rainfall in a broad swathe from west Wales through north-west England, southern and eastern Scotland to Shetland. It was also wetter than normal across most of the rest of Scotland and Wales, and in Northern Ireland. In sharp contrast, much of the Midlands, eastern and southern England were very dry with less than half the normal amount in counties from Cambridgeshire to Sussex.

It is same with us. Finland is 39% bigger than Britain.
Finland 338 424 km²
Britain 243 610 km²
saldo 94 814 39 %



We have dry and wet, cold and hot and no one can know what is next week. Your weather use to arrive here 2 days later.

Finland is 1000 km long country.

There is a difference with wet and dry. Wet may stop next day, but if the landscaope is dry, it takes 2-4 weeks to get it wet.
 

gavin 

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Sorry, I understand better than you there. I dso not keep an one hive owner as an expert.

Then some say that you have in autumn and in winter so much brood that I cannot understand...
You think that I'm a one-hive expert? Sometimes it hard to see what you mean.

The UK is often very different from Finland. Your seasons are well-defined, ours are all over the place. You seemed to think that BDaddy was recommending going straight from taking off a super to feeding, and he wasn't.

The local variation in the UK is huge, and that piece from the weather summary for July shows it - record crops in some places, starvation in others. We can have a flow still on into October and even November some years in some places.
 

Finman 

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You think that I'm a one-hive expert? .

I am able to read that you have five. What I understand is that Uk is impossible to keep bees. If you have even little brains, stop it quickly.

I have discussed much with Hive Maker and we have very same style to keep bees.
 
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BDaddy 

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Gavin has hit the nail on the head here Finman.

What Mel is actually describing is a situation here in Cumbria where a significant number of colonies have been found to contain significantly less stores than what would be expected for this time of the year. Indeed this has been identified as a potentially serious problem by our local SBI who, after inspecting a large number of colonies recently , found many of them to be close to the point of starvation.

I would suspect that this is closely related to the where the colonies are. Those within urban areas do not seem to be having the same problems as those sited in more isolated areas, whose colonies rely upon natural flora for their nectar & pollen rather than have the benefit of the flora in tended gardens and allotments etc.

The weather pattern here in Cumbria for the past serval weeks has been so dreadful that bees have had little oppoprtunity to forage. When they do, there seems to be little for them to forage on, despite in some cases, for example, beekeepers having colonies sited directly on large crops of OSR and/or borage etc whose colonies are requiring supplemental feeding. Additionally to date, other notable sources of nectar & pollen such as blackberry, raspberry, white clover et.al have not yielded the quantities of nectar & pollen that one would have reasonably expected them to provide for the time of the year.

The simple fact is that if Mel does not "deal" with this situation without delay she will find herself in the position where, at best, her colony will not produce any significant amounts of new young bees now, to take it through the winter and thus reduce its chances of surviving, or worse still, becomes so depleted that the colony fails to make it into winter at all.

The course of action is clear. Feed them and feed them now. There is absolutely no point whatsoever in procrastinating here.

However, if we are very lucky, I suspect that in approx two weeks time we will get a spell of really decent weather lasting throughout September. If this doesn't happen there are going to be a large number of beekeepers in some serious trouble if they don't act now.

Regards
BD
 

BDaddy 

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I am able to read that you have five. What I understand is that Uk is impossible to keep bees. If you have even little brains, stop it quickly.
I am not quite sure what you are trying to say here Finman. Could you explain further?

Regards
BD
 

Finman 

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Gavin has hit the nail on the head here Finman.

BD
I did not noticed - sorry! British humour again at its best.

If you want to feed, FEED so much as can! May the Force be with you
 
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Erichalfbee 

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I have been feeding mine intermittently for the last month as the weather dictates.
As a beginner I stupidly overfed my newly acquired nuc so they made swarm cells, I A/S d, the original queen disappeared, I missed a QC in the parent colony so they swarmed and I ended up with three small boxes of bees. Hence the intermittent feeding.
All three hives have brood now.
Today, walking the dog, I notice masses of ivy flowers in the making.
Here's hoping for decent autumn weather.
 

madasafish 

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Our local apiary (North Staffordshire) lost 3 nucs in the last 3 weeks due to not feeding them: it was anticipated the frames of stores they had would tide them through: the weather has been so bad that was unfortunately incorrect.
I am feeding: the alternative is no bees.
 

Dishmop 

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It would seem there is no general answer to this feeding question.

Norwich has been lucky for good weather this year, but like all of the UK, where I live it can be dry, but half a mile on the other side of the estate it can be raining, and then turn the corner and its dry again.

I think my bees have got quite a good choice of where they collect whatever.
Plenty of gardens, nice flowery roundabouts, some areas where the council have decided not to cut the grass but allow wild life to grow a bit, and a bit further out there are fields but not a lot in them, and acres of water filled ex gravel pits, and plenty of wild flowers. They have to go quite some way to find any crops...
Bees are out at 6 or so in the morning and busy collecting until about tea time.

I fed both hives when they started because the swarm didnt bring their picnic boxes with them.

I actually put an entrance feeder in the bushes...(in the shade). Took them a week to find it...
 

aseeryl 

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On a follow-on, point perhaps it might be necessary to consider overpopulation in some ares.
Twice recently I have visited semi-rural apiaries where in one there were 20 hives in a small field and in another 12. These relied on farmland, often monocultured, and local, maybe diminished, wild flowers for sustenance.

The publicity about declining bee numbers has resulted in a welcome surge in interest with great increases in bee club membership (I heard of one that has a waiting list), novelty "designer" hive manufacturing and the hard sell, as well as well-meaning "adopt a hive schemes".

Large imports of non native bees and queen stock are also thought to be possibly storing up problems for the future.

Just throwing this in. Don't know what others think. No PC polemics please.
 

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