Oxford Bees

Honey Bee Hungry Gap

Submitted by will on Sat, 02/07/2016 - 08:33

I see the following alert from the Nation Bee Unit (part of Defra)

Beekeepers may wish to monitor their colony food levels closely over the next month as many colonies, particularly those which are strong and had their spring honey crop removed, will be at risk of starving. In some parts of the UK, the weather is still cold and foraging opportunities for large colonies are few and far between. It is important to check and monitor all your colonies feed levels, if you do not wish to open them up because of poor weather, lift below the floor, in turn, on both sides of the hive to see how much it weighs.

I checked the three hives in my out apiary today. All are short on stores. I have fed them with honey from Hive A.

Feeding with honey from another colony is a risky business. Honey can contain pathogens which lead to serious diseases. AFB is one.

I believe that Hive A is only showing diseases associated with Varroosis: DWV and at least one of the paralysis viruses (K-Wing; Acute and Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus). I hope that my assessment is correct.

The honey in question is largely crystallised and stored from last year.

This is my mea culpa. I strongly suspect that I shouldn't be feeding old honey from a different colony to my bees. If it turns out OK then I've got away with it, but this is not best practice. Better to make mead with older, less palatable honey and feed the bees with syrup.