Tag Archives: Feeding

How to Feed a Winter Apidea

If you are overwintering an Apidea you will need to keep a close eye on the stores – especially in a mild winter when the queen may start to lay early. This one in the picture above has a double brood box and was well stocked with ivy honey in autumn but it felt a bit light so I fed it today.  If you are wondering why the air vent is left open – that’s because they have it completely propolised and I don’t want to leave the front door wide open.

Here’s what to do with the feed though: Continue reading How to Feed a Winter Apidea

How to overwinter an Apidea

At the end of the summer, it is not always possible to find a colony in need of a new queen, especially after a summer as good as this one (2014) when it seems all the queens mated well. Nor is it always possible to find colonies with sufficient sealed brood to make up a nuc without weakening them unduly before winter. So what to do with those last, late queens in your Apideas?

Here is the quandary I found myself in this year: I had several sad little queenless Apideas and two other strong ones, each with five frames (feeder removed) and with good laying queens in them. I can never quite face shaking the poor queenless bees out, nucs weren’t possible and there’s nothing so sad as watching an Apidea dwindle its way into winter with laying workers and a bellyful of slugs.

So here’s the recipe: Continue reading How to overwinter an Apidea

Bees and Honey with a Scale Hive

A scale hive (or hive scale)  is a beehive set on a weighing scales so you can observe the daily change in weight.

Usually this means constructing a special stand which will accommodate the scales upside-down over a series of mirrors set like a periscope so the daily change of weight can be read from above. If you are manually inept or technologically minded or both, it is possible to buy a special solar-powered, digital scale hive which will allow you to monitor your bees from a distance – probably via a satellite – the mind boggles! Continue reading Bees and Honey with a Scale Hive

Winter Losses

It has been a good winter for the bees and there have been very few losses. However, what do you do if you find a hive of your bees has died out?

Well, the first thing to do is find out why they died because whatever killed them could still be lurking in there; if you can pin down the cause of death then you will know what to do with the hive.

Look for the two most obvious things first:

  • Starvation
  • Poor queen

Much will depend on the time of year they died… Continue reading Winter Losses

Spring Pollen Substitute

This is a recipe for an emergency pollen substitute (adapted from a Scottish Beekeepers recipe) I used last year. It saved  several hives which would otherwise have fizzled out. This is for early spring use  or when they have run out of pollen.

Please note – when bees become very weak they will not take a pollen substitute; they seem to lose the will to live and only sunshine will save them. Continue reading Spring Pollen Substitute

Winter Feeding of Bees

This autumn was a good one for the bees and they seem to have brought in plenty of ivy honey and the hives are very heavy now – at the end of December 2013.

However this is not always the case and December and January are months when the beekeeper needs to keep an eye on the winter stores. It is not possible to feed bees with syrup in the winter because they are simply unable to ripen it so instead if the hives seem light and the bees are clustered close to the top of the frames it will do no harm to put a lump of fondant over the feed hole in the crown board and cover it with a sheet of plastic to stop it from going hard.

If they seem on the edge of extinction, fondant should be placed directly onto the bees. You need to use your imagination and/or ingenuity here if the bees are not directly beneath a feed hole. It may be possible to turn the crownboard so that they are, or fondant can be flattened to a patty which can be placed under the crownboard.

Alternative place an eke on the brood box, then a cake of fondant covered in plastic is placed directly on the bees and the eke is filled up with old jumpers, blankets or sacking and the crownboard is put onto the eke.

Swienty are now selling 15kg blocks of Apifondant which can be set directly over the bees inside an eke as described above. Click here for details of those things

In February you might like to consider giving the bees a pollen supplement such as Neopoll which will give them an early boost. This is especially useful if you are considering taking bees to the oilseed rape as it should prompt the colony into early build-up. Click here for details of Neopoll from Swienty.

You can feed a light 1:1 (1kg:1litre or 1lb:1pint) sugar syrup from St.Patrick’s day onwards using a contact feeder. If you are using a specially prepared beefeed such as Ambrosia you could water this down with a little water for spring feeding.

Click here for how to prepare Wintering Bees

Click here for Michaelmas, bees and wintering

Click here for Which Feeder

Click here for how to feed a wintering apidea

Click here for mid-winter feeding of bees

Click here for mid-winter oxalic acid Varroa treatment

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