Tuesday, 15 June 2010

DIY Honeybee Feeder Bags & June Gap

It's the June gap now. This means that in most parts of England there will be a natural break/ shortage of nectar producing flowers. It's at this time of year that your bee population will have increased considerably during the last nectar flow. Now there are many mouths to feed and short supply of food to go around. If the weather has a turn for the worst then you could find your bees are in great trouble and will need a feed. As in previous pages, please never feed your bees if you have honey supers in place. Always remember to remove all supers, only feed the brood box and only if necessary.

So have a look at your bees and if they have little stores then it is important to feed them to ensure they do not starve to death. Nucs or Nuclei, a small starter colony, will need an ongoing supply of feeding to help simulate the queen to lay and encourage your bees to draw out the wax cells vital as receptacles for eggs, pollen and honey stores. Without a helping hand the colony will develop very slowly if at all during a nectar drought.

I have enclosed a few pictures of simple DIY feeding bags that you can make up well in advance and store away in a bucket for times like this. Pour your cane sugar syrup solution into a sandwich bag, twist the end and tie a knot. Now take a piece of flat narrow wood and using frame nails, nail several through the end of the wood so the nail ends extend out the other side. This will be used to puncture pin holes in the bag. Only hit one side of the bag. With the holes on the top, place the bag on the top of the brood frames. You may need an Eke ( a shallow box surround- approx 1/3 the depth of a super box) to allow enough of a gap between the frames your bag and the coverboard. You can of course just leave off the coverboard and place your roof on.

It's a quick and easy method. Your bees will crawl up on top of the bag and feed from it. The pin holes are tiny and the syrup will not leak out as long as the holes are on the top side of the bag. Bees will suck every drop from the bag until it is bone dry.

We use this method for developing nucs and swarms. If you catch a swarm add a bee fed bag as you hive the swarm. This ensures they will take to your travel box/skep. Also during their swarming activity they use up a lot of their food stores and will be VERY grateful for the helping hand!

photo copyright 2010 ©-The Hive Honey Shop

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