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waking bees

 
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Oct 2015
Posts: 82
Location: U.K. Notts/Lincs/Yorks border

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:02 pm    Post subject: waking bees Reply with quote

bees are becoming active (uk Gainsborough area), not looked inside hive but should i feed them or just let things play out. if advice is feed what ratio of sugar to water. will they mange to forage at this time of year, daffodil, primrose and certain trees are beginning to blossom.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: waking bees Reply with quote

Cosmicwillow wrote:
bees are becoming active (uk Gainsborough area), not looked inside hive but should i feed them or just let things play out. if advice is feed what ratio of sugar to water. will they mange to forage at this time of year, daffodil, primrose and certain trees are beginning to blossom.


I would say "don't feed".

There are a couple of reasons people say to feed at this time of year. The first is that the bees are running low on stores and despite a few plants flowering, they have no real way to replenish them. At the same time, the nest is expanding for spring. So it is possible for them to starve at this time of year.

The second is that some conventional beeks are obsessed with honey yield, so they want to artificially stimulate brood production now so that there are plenty of bees when the real flows begin.

Now I have never fed at this time of year and never had them starve in spring. So I think this is more worry than fact. It would be interesting to hear other people's experience of this.

Also, I think feeding at this time of year is part of the problem. It artificially stimulates the queen to lay more than she would naturally, and then when the weather turns again, as it inevitably will, the population is too high and what stores there are get consumed very quickly. So feeding now can mean you need to feed again if the weather turns.

Can I ask how many hives you have ?

Adam.
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Oct 2015
Posts: 82
Location: U.K. Notts/Lincs/Yorks border

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your thoughts, I understand your reasons. I have two tbhives with colonies collected as swarms late last season, both are still active so they are, at moment surviving their/my first winter, all new to us, we'll almost.
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cosmicwillow wrote:
Thanks for your thoughts, I understand your reasons. I have two tbhives with colonies collected as swarms late last season, both are still active so they are, at moment surviving their/my first winter, all new to us, we'll almost.


If you choose to feed as a part of your management and you believe the colony is low on stores, fondant may be your best option in your area. This should keep them alive without stimulating colony growth. 1:1 syrup will stimulate growth.

The aim should be to have confidence that they have plenty of stores in the autumn, but that's difficult with an unpredictable climate.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1495
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am also of the no feeding group, though if I think a colony is going to starve based on hive weight or a quick peek I will put some candy in. - Haven't had to do this the past 6 years though and haven't fed in autumn either for that period. If I get a truly atrocious season though I am prepared to feed. If judging state of play by weight use a spring balance if like me you have hives of several different types as you won't remember which one should feel like what!
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tomorrow I will be having a little peak into a couple of my hives that I'm not confident have enough stores.
I'm also in the "don't feed unless absolutely necessary" camp but I would hate for a colony to starve at this late stage. I also agree fondant is probqably the best bet if they need a top up as syrup will stimulate brood production and I'm not confident we are out of the woods as far as winter is concerned yet, so I'd rather the natural nectar flow dictates when they ramp up brood production.

I'm desperately willing my apricot tree to bloom during this mild, sunny spell, in the hope that both my bees and the tree will benefit and perhaps I might see some fruit from it. The buds are pretty much ready to pop open....
.... updated to say that the very first blossom popped this afternoon. It will no doubt be several more days before there are significant numbers of blooms open to attract honey bees. Really hoping my bees are able to work them as I haven't seen any bumble bees about yet.


Last edited by Barbara on Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

catchercradle wrote:
.... If I get a truly atrocious season though I am prepared to feed.....

That's just about every season in west North Yorkshire! Sad
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jumbleoak
Scout Bee


Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 295
Location: UK, England, Kent

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Classic catchercradle post:
catchercradle wrote:
I am also of the no feeding group

Erm, but not really...
catchercradle wrote:
if I think a colony is going to starve...I will put some candy in

catchercradle wrote:
If I get a truly atrocious season though I am prepared to feed


Which can be summarised as: 'I'm of the feed if you think it's necessary group' - which probably includes most beekeepers.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1495
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Which can be summarised as: 'I'm of the feed if you think it's necessary group' - which probably includes most beekeepers.


True but most bee keepers in this area are of the feed every autumn and spring come what may! I haven't fed for five, possibly six years now, even in 2012 when it rained all year virtually I didn't feed. Mind you I didn't take any honey from my bees that year either Sad
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1495
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For all year virtually substitute virtually all year. #lackofsleep
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