The good spring honey flow that many of us had was followed by a poor or non-existent summer flow, so starvation losses could occur even in late summer or in autumn this year, before we even think of winter. Indeed it could well be advisable to check you colonies for stores now. Honey shortage could be serious at this stage because there is little or no nectar being collected and several beekeepers have noted an unusually large amount of sealed brood still present in the colonies; when it hatches, all of the new bees are going to need to feed, thus depleting early what would normally be their winter stores. If you took a significant amount of honey off your colonies earlier this year, do take special care when preparing your bees for winter. You won’t want to add to the serious (and I suspect mainly unnecessary) colony loss figures for previous years, as reported by The National Bee Unit (BeeCraft, August p. 27).

Geoff Cooper August 2020

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