I am finding that, with the continuing wet weather, several of the smaller swarms that I hived earlier in the year are now out of stores. This became obvious yesterday when I hefted the boxes, and was confirmed by looking up from underneath the boxes on those that do not have observation windows. While strong colonies have managed to fly and collect a little nectar in recent days and have built up stores during the better spells of weather, the small swarms have not had sufficient bee numbers to do this. Instead, they have stayed at home, preserving their energy but are now in danger of starving. Because of poor weather after these swarms were hived, they were all given a small amount of feed several weeks ago. I am now repeating that, particularly given that the forecast is for continued wet weather for the coming days .
Depending on the local forage available to your bees, the local weather and the strength of your colonies, it is possible that small swarms that you have hived this year are in the same position. My advice is to check them and, if you feel it appropriate, to consider giving them some assistance. I know some will say ‘no’ to this, but we all stand in slightly different positions on the ‘natural’ spectrum.
Gareth, West Oxfordshire