Autumn approaches and the first of the ivy flowers are being visited by bees in warm sunny corners. Ivy nectar flows can be heavy in these parts and can form an important addition to winter stores. Some maintain that ivy honey is not good to have in the hive over winter as it crystallizes and can give problems for the bees. I have never found this to be the case, but I always ensure that ivy is not the sole food in the hive during winter. So the bees get a mix of different honeys to feed on.
The warm weather we have been treated to for many months is now becoming changeable. So the priority is to ensure that winter stores are sufficient and all is snug and tight before the nights become cold. If I need to top up the stores on any hives I use this recipe. I add some of my own honey to the mix if I have some and, this year, I do, as nature has been kind to us. This also means that only a couple of late swarms need feeding. What a change from this time last year when all hives needed assistance and there was no spare honey to give them.