Home Page
   Articles
       links
About Us    
Traders        
Recipes            
Latest Articles
Where's the honey gone!
Page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Downsizer Forum Index -> The Apiary
Author 
 Message
gythagirl



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1430
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 17 10:04 am    Post subject: Where's the honey gone!  Reply with quote    

The Beekeeper has been away for 3 weeks, checking the 4 hives before he went, finding all well and flourishing, good honey flow and anticipating, even allowing for leaving plenty of stores for the winter, at least 40lbs + to extract on his return; and I certainly saw plenty of activity whilst he was away.

However, he's back and went down to the hives yesterday and was most perplexed to discover the colonies in apparent good health, busy as usual...but virtually no honey Much less than there'd been 3 weeks earlier, and prob not even enough to keep the bees going through the winter. I know our weather's been very er, changeable, during August but there's been no shortage of bees on the flowers, and I've barely seen a wasp all summer.

He's never had this happen before - any of you Beeks out there experienced this? Comments welcomed please!

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 4691
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 17 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

late season swarm?

I'm more of a beekeeper adjacent than a beekeeper....

Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34886
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 17 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'd suggest the same - the naughty new queen has taken it all with her!

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4278
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 17 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We've had the old queen just swarm, and the hive is suspiciously empty. Coincidence...?

(we have new queen and are supplementary-feeding)

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8823

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 17 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Either the weather hasn't been as good as you think, and they have had to eat quite a lot of it, or a swarm that went awol when nobody was looking.

gythagirl



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1430
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 17 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

No, OH certain no swarmimg, masses of bees and brood in each, queens well-established. And I def haven't seen a line of bees flying off with under-slung honeypots. Just a lack of honey. We've had years when there's been no honey flow as the weather's been crap at the wrong time, but there's been excellent flow and bees everywhere in the garden covered with pollen...

We don't bee-keep for the honey - but we do rather hope they'll end up with enough to see themselves through the winter...

It was all (she whispers) going so well this season too...

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 4691
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 17 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Are there any peculiarities that cause bees to focus on pollen instead of nectar?

Pollen is important for brood, right? The missing piece is why that would over-shadow nectar collection....

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8823

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 17 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you had a dry spell as we did earlier in the summer, some plants wouldn't have been producing nectar, or not as much. Buddleia only produces enough depth for honey bees to get at when it has been quite wet for example, although bumble bees and other insects with longer proboscis can reach it.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8404
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 17 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Here the bees built well through the Spring & early summer but for the last fortnight it's been cooler & definitely wetter.
Stores at this time can get consumed rapidly when the hive is chok full of bees.
70,000 bees not only gather a lot of nectar but when shut at home can consume a large amount of stores.
If you're happy feeding I suggest harvesting earlier in the summer & feeding syrup during wet cold weather.
If you don't like supplementary feeding harvesting smaller amounts more frequently but always making sure there's plenty left for the bees is my advice.
Either that or there's been robbing by wasps or other bees from elsewhere.


sgt.colon



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 5838
Location: Just south of north.
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 17 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Do the bee's consume the honey if they are about to swarm?

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 4691
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 17 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sgt.colon wrote:
Do the bee's consume the honey if they are about to swarm?


I believe that when they swarm they do so with near-bursting bellies full of honey. A real beekeeper can correct me if I'm wrong.

gythagirl



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1430
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 17 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks all. No swarming & no wasps - will put it down to the weather ( ) and will clearly need to feed them. Ah well - next year will be different - it always is!!!

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8823

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 17 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The other problem about a cool wet spell is that the bees can't get out and plan all sorts of naughty things, like swarming. In reality, because there are so many bees in the hive at one time there isn't enough 'queen substance' to go round to control them properly, so they think the queen is aging, and breed up queen cells, so watch out for them.

gythagirl



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1430
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 17 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Well, what do you know??? Email from the National Bee Unit arrived this afternoon:


Quote:
Beekeepers in the South West of England may want to check their colonies food levels, as stated in our previous Autumn Husbandry alert. Many of the Bee Inspectors are finding colonies on the brink of starvation with alarmingly low food stores. Remember, a colony will now need 25 kilos of food to see them through the winter. As a reminder, a strong syrup (i.e. 630ml water to 1kg sugar) should be fed to the colony at this time of the year and not a weak syrup. If you have any questions about feeding then please do not hesitate to contact us.



So very definitely not just our bees

sgt.colon



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 5838
Location: Just south of north.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 17 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I take it that they don't know what's caused it then, with them not mentioning it in the email.

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Downsizer Forum Index -> The Apiary All times are GMT
Page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2
View Latest Posts View Latest Posts

 

Archive
Powered by php-BB © 2001, 2005 php-BB Group
Style by marsjupiter.com, released under GNU (GNU/GPL) license.
Copyright 2004 marsjupiter.com

<-- -->