Just a quick warning echoing the concerns expressed by the National Bee Unit to say how important it is to check the level of stores in your colonies/nucs.  We have had a long spell of cold/wet weather, which seems set to continue, and as said recently you must check, particularly in relation to any splits, nucleus colonies or colonies where you have removed all the spring honey.  The bees will have few stores if supers have been extracted and colonies will have been building up if they haven't been split.

Starvation is a real possibility which is not only desperate for your bees, but devastating for you as a beekeeper to find a dead out hive with the subsequent guilt that it was your fault.

So, use a frame feeder at this time of year which simply replaces a brood frame in your colony.  Ensure the inside of the feeder has rough sides so the bees can get a grip and also that you have floats (seen resting across the top for demonstration) that the bees can stand on to feed.  Without these it is very easy for them to drown in the syrup.   It makes sense to place the feeder at one edge of the brood chamber so you can slide the roof to one side if you need to top it up. This keeps disturbance to the colony to a minimum, provided you mark the side of the hive where you have put the feeder in the first place! 

So, what syrup?  Well there are the proprietary syrups from the beekeeping suppliers although many people make up their own prepared from refined white sugar and water mixed at a 2:1 ratio.  Again, the NBU site gives further direction on the latter.

But, be careful - do not feed unnecessarily as you don't want your honey to become adulterated with syrup.  Once the weather warms up and there is nectar to be foraged, any feeders and residual syrup should be removed and a frame of drawn comb or foundation put back in. This will also avoid having the bees creating comb inside the feeder.  

The BeeCraft Asian Hornet ID card - the latest addition to our shop. Sized to fit neatly into a pocket or wallet, this card is available in packs of 100 at cost price to distribute among your friends/family/colleagues as we need the help of everybody to protect our native pollinators.

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