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December activity

 
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:45 pm    Post subject: December activity Reply with quote

7th Dec north Notts/south Yorks and the bees are acting like it's summer, lots of activity around entrance, bees coming and going, no pollen collection (that I can see), is a good sign or bad? Or just one of those things? Should I replenish the sugar solution or is the atmosphere too damp to assist their evaporation in the hive? Attempting to post images if I can work out how
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Perfectly normal for them to be active on any day in winter if the temp. is above 10C and it is still and bright, especially after a period of confinement due to cold weather or a storm like we have just had. They will be relieving themselves and collecting water and perhaps a little pollen.

It is much too late to be feeding syrup now. Fondant or possibly sugar immersed in water for a few seconds and then drained and placed over the colony are the safest options at this time of year.

Best wishes

Barbara
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


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

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that. I thought syrup was most likely not a good idea but there is a block of fondant in there. This is our first year with the bees and both colonies where collected as swarms fairly late in the season so watching closely with crossed fingers hoping they get through winter. Can do no more than let them get on I suppose.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We need to be careful here in UK if the warm weather continues though! The bees consume a lot more stores when it is warm and they are active with very little nectar around for them.

Fondant is the way to go if they get short this time of year. While I have read of giving them some soya flour for protein, in most UK locations the bees will have enough pollen stores and I have never done this.
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hsilgnede
House Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2015
Posts: 23
Location: Co Clare, Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone here use granulated sugar?

I've heard of Micheal Bush and Solomon Parker and some others doing this, albeit in the US. The sugar is placed on top of newspaper under the roof of the hive. The bees move up through the hive during the winter and if they run out, they hit the granulated sugar. They don't like it so they only take a minimum of what they need and the rest gets taken out as rubbish when the flow starts, or it gets solid from the moister in the air and you can just lift it out in lumps in your hand. So goes the theory anyway.

I'm also not sure how it would work in a top bar. You'd have to fashion some means of keeping it in an accessible box(es) at the back of the hive where you thought the bees would be at the end of their honey reserves.
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have...not granulated but castor sugar as Michael Bush describes. It works fine. A bag of castor sugar wetted then dried then wrapped in cling film with a hole in it over the feed hole is just as good. Hold a bag under water for a few seconds, dry it on a radiator for a couple of days then it is ready. You need to check it now and again as they hollow the bags out from underneath.
A
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hsilgnede
House Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2015
Posts: 23
Location: Co Clare, Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Andy.

Why caster sugar rather than granulated? Just curious.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not convinced the bees care which it is!
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