Blocked entrances and stores

Beehive entrance blocked with snow

With the majority of the country laying under a blanket of snow, it was inevitable that the beast from the east would finally reach us in Devon. With the weather conditions as they are, it's important that beekeepers check their colonies to ensure their entrances are not blocked with snow and there are sufficient stores available for each colony until your next visit to the apiary.

Ideally, colonies will have gone into winter with on average 40lb of stores (for a National) but with the current cold snap when we are expecting March to start warming up, the bees are not able to get out and forage on the early spring flowers to gather much-needed nectar and pollen.

It's therefore important to regularly heft each hive to assess how much stores the colony has.  If you feel they will be short before your next visit, then at this time of year, fondant can be fed above the crown board causing minimal disturbance to the over-wintering cluster of bees.

For more information about feeding bees, and what to feed based on the time of your, the National Bee Unit has published Best Practice Guideline No. 7 - Feeding Bees full of useful tips and advice.

Welcome to Spring!