The National Bee Unit has issued an alert in the south-west encouraging beekeepers to check their colonies food levels. Many of the Bee Inspectors are finding colonies on the brink of starvation with alarmingly low food stores.
The National Bee Unit says "As a rule of thumb, a full size colony should have about 25 kg of honey stores to get through the winter and into the first part of our unpredictable springs. Therefore, many beekeepers will feed around 25 kg of thick sugar syrup (1k g of granulated sugar to 630 ml of water) between August and September. This amount of feed would usually last a colony 5-6 months during the winter, however, with changeable weather, food stores should be monitored after the new year and if they look like they are running short, sugar candy of some type can be fed. Don’t forget colonies also need adequate pollen provisions and will need two full sized deep frames of pollen to see them over winter. If this is not present, then a suitable pollen substitute should be fed, readily obtainable from the bee equipment suppliers."
For more information, please read the National Bee Unit's best practice guidelines on feeding bees.