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Where's the honey gone!
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Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8732

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 17 6:50 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

The other problem about a cool wet spell is that the bees can't get out and plan all sorts of naughty things, like swarming. In reality, because there are so many bees in the hive at one time there isn't enough 'queen substance' to go round to control them properly, so they think the queen is aging, and breed up queen cells, so watch out for them.

gythagirl



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1430
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 17 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Well, what do you know??? Email from the National Bee Unit arrived this afternoon:


Quote:
Beekeepers in the South West of England may want to check their colonies food levels, as stated in our previous Autumn Husbandry alert. Many of the Bee Inspectors are finding colonies on the brink of starvation with alarmingly low food stores. Remember, a colony will now need 25 kilos of food to see them through the winter. As a reminder, a strong syrup (i.e. 630ml water to 1kg sugar) should be fed to the colony at this time of the year and not a weak syrup. If you have any questions about feeding then please do not hesitate to contact us.



So very definitely not just our bees

sgt.colon



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 5819
Location: Just south of north.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 17 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I take it that they don't know what's caused it then, with them not mentioning it in the email.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8732

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 17 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Probably the bees not being able to get out and forage.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8404
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 17 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Climate change is having an effect.
The weather pattern here is mild late winter/early spring, followed by warm dry springs. & then wet cooler summers.
The met office confirms this trend with 9 from the last 13 years.
You should IMHO be setting your beekeeping calendar a month earlier.

As for feeding now, the Ivy has started flowering here & between showers my bees are working so I'm not reaching for the sugar yet.


gythagirl



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1430
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 17 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Well, you feed when your bees are hungry! First lot of sugar syrup went into the feeders yesterday evening, 2 1/2 litres per hive: feeders were checked this morning and all 3 were bone dry. OH was flabbergasted. There really have been bees feeding on all the flowers, ornamental and fruit/veg blossom, all summer, weather permitting, and plenty in the garden today.

I think you're right re the beekeepers' calendar though.

Second lot of syrup is cooling as I type.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 4657
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 17 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Plants are typically going to flower regardless of conditions (to a point), but the amount of excess sugar they have to put towards something like nectar is completely dictated by how much sun they're getting.

The sun was up for about the same number of hours every day this week, but my solar panels only generated about 2.5 kwh the other day because of the clouds. The day after they generated 14.5 kwh.

It's the same way with plants, but it's a carbon budget not an electrical one. First the plant needs to be meeting its energy needs for respiration (day to day life), then for structural needs (building leaves and flowers), then depending upon the plant (annual or perennial) it will be allocating sugar to storage (starch in roots) or enhancing reproductive success (e.g., nectar) or some combination of both.

The amount of absolute power shining down really drops with just a bit of cloud cover, so even with lots of bee visits, there may not be enough sun to make lots of nectar.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8732

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 17 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

There is also the condition of the bees to consider. Firstly, if it is very wet they can't get out to forage, and if it is windy they will be bringing in less as they need some for energy to get there and back. Secondly, if it is still warm there may be a longer reproduction season, so more bees in the hive for longer and more mouths, both adult and larvae to feed.

gythagirl



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1430
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 17 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

All very gloomy really. Last night's feed went the way of Tuesday night's: feeders empty this morning. 3rd lot in feeders now.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8732

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 17 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

They may be storing most of it if their stores are badly depleted, so I wouldn't worry that they are taking it all. Now is the time they want to make sure they have enough stores for winter and they will still be very active, so a good time to lay them in.

gythagirl



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1430
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 17 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

3rd night's syrup has also disappeared...OH off to buy more sugar...

We're certainly hoping they're storing it.






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Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8404
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 17 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I don't expect anybody to follow my philosophy on beekeeping but there are many like me who are finding a more natural approach does work.
Flowers, as slim says will flower regardless but nectar flow can be seriously depleted by wet cooler summers.

White clover which has been a reliable crop & a mainstay of the beekeeper for generations is much reduced. Because of nectar only being produced at temps over 20c, & when produced easily knocked down & diluted by heavy rain. Also so few pastures are managed now in a way that encourages white clover so it's not as prevalent as it used to be.
Ivy as I have said many times here in the past has the ability to recharge its nectaries until pollination is successful.
That's good for the bees & the plant, & makes it a very reliable source.

I will feed sugar in an emergency. But if you are going to feed sugar until they stop taking it, you will end up with a hive full of sugar, also bees that wont bother foraging, even on days when it's possible. It's part of a bees nature to gather from the nearest & strongest source first. So if there's a full feeder on top the hive, they aren't going to waste energy flying to a source a few hundred metres away.

In emergency I make blocks of fondant.
Feeding syrup can encourage breeding & I would rather have bees that breed when nectar is abundant & reduce breeding when it's not.
A kilo of fondant on top of a hive will keep even a large colony alive for a week a smaller one longer.


tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43924
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 17 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Alright mate? Long time no see, how's things?

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8404
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 17 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Good.
More in touch with nature than ever, & loving my land even more as well.
Had a long internet break, needed to spend time in the real world & get things done.
Have I missed anything?



gz



Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 5837
Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 17 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

missed you and your blogging as well, Tavascarow

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