To feed or not to feed?

17th and 18th May: The new swarm seemed happy enough today.  The hive gave off a gentle buzzing sound, bees were coming and going – leaving backwards it seemed to me – are they memorising the setting for when they return?  I watched industriuos activitiy arround the Clemetis montana which seemed to yeild rich yellow pollen and there was some interest in the hawthorn blossom.  The nagging worry that the bees might be hungry wouldn’t go.  So, mid-afternoon saw Elizabeth and I gingerly lifting the lid to give them some sugar syrup.  In our rush to close the hive last night we’d left one of the top bars out and now found a significant number of bees (how do you estimate numbers?) in the roof space but the soft kitchen brush seemed ideally suited for brushing them back into the right place and allowed us to pour the sugar into the feeder.  There seemed to be a mad dash to get to it – does that mean they were hungry or merely curious?

Lid back on, the activity continued.  This looked to me like a happy group of bees – but then I havent got much to compare them with.  Later on I reported my progress to my cyber-companions from the natural beekeeping course – lots of congratulations but a warning from Gareth to let them settle and resist wish to feed them as they bring stores with them.  The next day, the bees were busy again, moving into and out of the hive alhtough I couldn’t find evidence of where they were foraging in the garden.  It was another cold day and an evening check found a quiet hive – not many bees and not much buzzing – maybe they were inside keeping warm?

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About walthambees

I am a complete novice to bee keeping - eager to learn, willing to try, happy to acknowledge that I know little and prepared to write about that in the hope that others will share their wisdom and experiences!
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2 Responses to To feed or not to feed?

  1. FollowMeChaps says:

    walthambees (sorry, you don’t give a name?)
    What type of hive are you using?
    I fully agree with Gareth about not feeding a swarm, especially sugar syrup. Also opening a new colony is more likely to cause them to abscond.
    Robin

  2. walthambees says:

    thanks Robin. its a top bar hive. suspect you and Gareth are right but have also been given the opposite advice. in future I’ll resist my urge to feed those I suspect of being tired, hungry and emotional – usually works with my children!
    Ruth

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