Nice to hear from you. When your next passing the shop pop in and say hello.
To answer your questions >
Q- Do I continue to feed them?
A- they will keep taking syrup if they need it or have room to store it. We had unusually warm weather for October and bees were still flying out and consuming food stores -hence the continued feeding. But as I write this the weather has turned, the temperature has dropped and I believe you will find that your bees are now clustering up to keep warm and syrup intake has all but stopped. I would suggest you now remove the syrup feeder. At Christmas each year we give a gift of fondant to all our bees as a THANK YOU for all their hard work during the year.
Q- ..but didn’t want to force feed them....
A- You can never force feed bees. They will take it when they need it, or leave it alone if they have collected enough. It's better to provide then not, as they are susceptible to starvation.
Q- Do we just let them be over the winter or is it worth opening up the hive regularly
A- No leave your bees alone during the winter. Any disruptions during the winter will have a very adverse affect on your bees, stressing them and it turn upsetting their balance. Just keep an eye out that high winds do not blow the roof off and also clear dead bees away from the hive entrance. Keep an eye on our 'Beekeeping with The Hive' blog. Subscribe then you don't miss out. I will be posting Winter Maintenance Tips there throughout the year. Hope this helps for now.
Keep up the good work!
All the best
I hope all is going well. How was the apple crop? We’ve been picking loads of apple from friends’ trees and trying out chutney/jam/sauces etc and even a bit of cider – that’s another art form.
I did have one query that’s not immediately obvious from all the information (literature, internet etc.). We have been feeding the bees sugar solution in both colonies and they seem to be guzzling it down – I had got the impression that you only needed to feed them for say Sept/Oct then they would hunker down for the winter. Do I continue to provide feed? I assume that they wouldn’t consume it if they didn’t need it… I assume that their continued appetite is a good thing but didn’t want to force feed them. Also, do we just let them be over the winter or is it worth opening up the hive regularly / once a month? I recall reading somewhere that they get disturbed if opened when wet & cold.
Thanks for any tips.