October 11, 2016

Feeding Bees in Late Winter / Early Spring

early spring honeybee feeding As a beekeeper it is all to easy to relax once the first spring flowers begin to show and your bees are beginning to venture out and assume that your bees can fend for themselves again. This is the time when bees may need the most help. As the bees become more active they will need more food, which they may not readily be able to replenish yet from external resources. In addition a few good spring days maybe followed by days of cold and wet weather at this time of year. In fact early spring / late winter is the time when honeybee colonies can be most at risk.

Having got your colonies through winter  it important for beekeepers to correctly manage hives that have survived as this is the time of the year when bees start running out of stored honey if they haven’t already, especially if they are starting to become active for some parts of the day. To help them not to die from starvation, it’s important that you feed your bees. If you find dead bees with their heads stuck in cells, this is a sign that they have starved to death.

It is too early to feed your bees sugar-water as they will not be able to get rid of the excess moisture. A quick method of getting food to them is to pure some sugar into a bowl and add just enough water so that you can form the sugar into a firm but moist ball. This ball can then easily be added to the hive either over the hole on the crown board or onto the frames above where there are most active bees present.

Alternatively you can tear a paper bag of sugar add a small amount of water enough to moisten but not soak the bag and place this into the hive.

Pollen patties are a good source of protein for the bees, which is essential for any new brood that maybe developing. These can be purchased or made from a dry powder mix.

More about Colony Management