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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Annapolis Valley, N.S. Canada

    Default Hives that starve

    I have read and it seems to be generaly accepted that most hives that starve do so not in the dead of winter, but actually in late winter/early spring.
    My question, is this because of a lack of stores or is it because they simply get caught out of range of the stores that are left?
    I have some triple deeps that have lots of stores but let's say they have moved up the middle and are near the top, can they move down to access stores they missed? In late winter/early spring when the bees begin brood rearing, are they able to move around much to access stores or must the feed be in direct contact?
    I have been putting fondant patties on my inner covers of my doubles (cheap insurance) but I wonder if I should put any on my triples, even though they were obviously heavy?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand

    Default Re: Hives that starve

    OK well to answer that from what applied at one place where I used to keep bees, it took 40 lb's honey to get a hive through winter. It was cold and they had no brood at all for 2-3 months, and during this time would use maybe 10 lb's. Then brood rearing started, there was still no honey coming in, and they would chomp through the honey quite quickly as they needed it to raise bees.

    The trick for us, was to get all the timing right, so they would build to peak strength just as the main flow started, and use nearly all the stored honey, but not run out.

    We never had a hive starve through winter, but would have some close calls in spring.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Baltimore, OH

    Default Re: Hives that starve

    I feed fondant beginning in January and then give some pollen patties in late Feb or March here in central Ohio. I believe that bees starve in late January and beyond not because they don't have stores but rather they don't move due to the cold. If they break cluster they will die from cold and if they stay in cluster they die of starvation (at least that is what I think). I put hard candy that I make near the cluster on the top bars of whatever body they are in. I have single and double hives and a few five frame nucs. I feed them all. I already fed in mid December because I had a warm day and did not know when I could open again. As it turns out that was a good decision as it has stayed below freezing and the hives can't be opened.

    I have used candy boards and even put granulated sugar on frames and on top of t the inner cover. My favorite is hard candy that I make. If you want the recipe search Pife as I have given it several times and you can find it easily in Bee Source.

    Good luck. I hate winter because of the issues it presents to the girls.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: Hives that starve

    They starve anytime. Starving because they can't get to stores is usually when it's bitter cold (subzero). Starving because they flat ran out of food usually happens before a spring flow (such as the early fruit trees) but either late winter or early spring, because they burn up a frame of honey and a frame of pollen for every frame of brood they rear, so they can burn through a box of feed in short order once brood rearing kicks in.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF


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