Emergency Feeding Bees – Part 1

Emergency Feeding Bees – Part 1

Blog readers have just started posting again on my Beekeeper Anonymous page (that I created when an early colony of mine starved), so I should have taken it as a warning to go and check my bees.

I just popped down to the allotment today (24th March) to do a quick 30 minute weed.  I could immediately see that the near and far hives were very, very busy but that the middle hive was not very active at all.

This hive had the least stores when I inspected a week ago.  Reading the comb I knew this hive was low on stores but it had been such a nice day and I hoped they were home and dry now that April was near.  Lesson learnt – I should have fed.  I wish I had.

There were dead bees and bees moving slowly on the landing board.  There was the occasional bee returning from foraging. I looked in through the entrance and could see lots of dead bees on the floor (up to about 1,000).  It looked desperate but hopefully not terminal.

I immediately went to the shop and bought 3kg sugar.  Mixed with 3L of water into a thin syrup and put into a honey tub and some into a hand sprayer.

Returned to the hive.  Opened the crown board. Removed the MAQs. Sprayed several times down each seam directing it into the comb.  In retrospect, I wish I had sprayed more as the comb could have held it without leaking out of the hive.  Put the jumbo feeder on top and poured in the thin syrup. I then trickled some down into the hive so they could find the feeder.

Jumbo Feeder
Jumbo Feeder

Closed up and hoped.  It was 5.30pm and still 13C.

I looked into the feeder 20 mins later and one single bee was walking up into the feeder! I hope they find the energy to get into the feeder.

Tomorrow is forecast to be sunny and 13C.  If the emergency feeding has worked they should be flying as normal.  If not, I’ll open again and spray in a lot more syrup.

Whilst I was kitted out I removed the MAQs from all 4 hives and put in entrance reducers.

Go and check your hives tomorrow!

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Author: Roger

regaining my sanity through beekeeping

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