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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some advice on a colony that I have struggling a bit; I'd appreciate answers from Warre beekeepers, as it it would be more applicable to my situation:

Background: This particular hive (in a Warre, frameless) went into winter pretty strong with what seemed to be enough resources. However, we had an awful winter storm in mid-February with winds gusting at 60+mph and 0-degree temps. My hives had over the years withstood other storms no problem, but this one apparently was strong enough to knock this hive down. It happened overnight, and I didn't find the mess until the morning. The bees, bless their hearts, were clustering as best they could, but there wasn't much to protect them from the wind. I put the hive back together, and tried to recover as many of them as I could. However, I lost a lot of bees, perhaps 1/3 of them (i'm not sure yet about the queen), AND I lost some honey stores. At the time I assembled it, they did have some honey left though. A week ago, they no longer had any capped honey, so I added about 2lbs of dry sugar to a tray above the cluster. On our first warm day in months (yesterday), they were active, and it seems there are enough bees left to survive. However, we still have at least another month before the nectar flow, and I don't know if they have the resources to build brood.

Question: I know stimulative feeding can be harmful. However, in this situation, with a weakened hive very low on stores, would stimulative feeding be the proper course so that they can build up some brood before the nectar flow starts in May? Or, should I simply wait it out? My fear with stimulative feeding is that they'll raise brood but not have enough nurse bees to attend to them, thus leaving few foragers for the nectar flow. So they'll then miss out on the nectar flow and have to be fed for the rest of the year. If you think feeding them is a good idea, when would you suggest I start. At my location, 650' elevation in central Maryland, the nectar flow normally starts in earnest around 15 May. We may have a few freezing nights between now and then, but nothing that would be cold enough to freeze a jar of sugar syrup on the top box.

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