Emergency Feeding Bees – Part 2

Emergency Feeding Bees – Part 2

I checked the hive again today to see if my emergency feeding had worked.

There was still virtually no activity in the hive – so evidently not worked.

I filled my sprayer with sugar syrup and returned.

I opened the hive and there were no bees in the feeder.  I opened the hive and there was about 1-2,000 bees still alive … just.  They were consuming whatever they could.  They had eaten their brood. They were barely moving.  There was quite a bit of diarrhoea due to the starvation.

I took the hive apart so I could empty the floor of dead bees (again, about 1-2,000).

Beekeeper Inspecting Dead BeesBeekeeper Inspecting Dead Bees
Me Inspecting Dead Bees

I then pulled out the a frame with bees on and started spraying the thin sugar syrup into the cells.  I then took courage and took the lid off and started pouring it in.  That worked well with no spillage.  The cells held it all in. I poured the syrup into the other side and repeated on about 4 frames in total.  The bees were getting more active by the time I had finished.

I put the feeder back on top.

There was some interest from the other bees but not too much.  Fingers crossed a robbing session will not happen.

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Author: Roger

regaining my sanity through beekeeping

4 thoughts on “Emergency Feeding Bees – Part 2”

  1. Hi Roger, I have been keeping an interest in your beekeeping year. I am a complete amateur beekeeper but already it’s becoming an obsession. Both my hives survived the winter (1 x nucleus and 1 x swarm which I collected last May). I have done much reading on beekeeping and note that there are about 5 different ways of doing something, and tend to just pick the choice that seems the most rational. I was concerned with losing my bees over the winter, either through cold or starvation, however, both hives have survived. Wrt starvation, I resorted to leaving some fondant in the tops of both hives all winter, just in case they wanted a nibble, and the swarm which was very small and has never been as active, has survived and are busy making their way through their fondant. Whilst most would possibly not leave any feed in situ throughout the winter, I feel that leaving some fondant has done the trick. Good luck with this year.

  2. There is one important lesson in this – early spring, not winter, is the time when most colonies die from starvation. The colony is building up fast, but even if the bees are out foraging,and bringing in pollen, there will be virtually no nectar available, so they use up their existing stores quickly.The same thing can happen later on if there is a long cold/wet spell and the bees have not yet built up their stores.
    It is likely that the colony will not survive – did you see the queen, she may have perished? – also, with such a small number of bees, they cannot keep themselves warm in a cold snap.
    The presence of diarrhea suggests that the bees may be suffering from Nosema, which will accelerate their decline – see ‘Scientific Beekeeping’ website for a simple way to test for Nosema if you have access to a microscope

  3. I’m a backyard bee keeper in metro area and I like to have tall and strong hives of 3 brood boxes with 2 supers on top. It is hard to track the queen and look for cells on every level. So I switched to queen castle and the queen has one deep box installed on the side of the tall tower with a side connection blocked with ex-cruder. three weeks ago I add the second queen in a new box on the other side of the hive tower. It prevents swarming and it is easy to find the queens.
    Hes anybody tried a hive with two queens?
    It is almost impossible the hive to be queen-less. For the summer will be one tower with a queen on each sides but for winter each queen will have its hive but will have a common hive smell.
    Each queen box is connected to the main tower with a ex-cruder blocking the opening. I move some caped brood in the main tower and free some space for the queen.
    Just imagine two families having one child each and one parent stays home in every family. Only two people go to work, combining the hives more bees will be free and can bring in honey.

    1. Hi John, I am not sure exactly how your queen caste / tower works but it sounds interesting. Please could you give me more detail or a photo? Thanks, Roger

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