One of the perks of beekeeping is being able to harvest honey. We know that bees store an excess amount and they will continue storing nectar and pollen as long as there is room. At what point should we say ‘that’s enough’ and begin preparing the hive for winter? Your colony can only store what is being provided. As your queen’s laying begins to slow and your colony dwindles down, the population will not be able to accommodate a larger hive. Adding that next super on might not be the best for your colony.
Your queen will continue laying eggs as long as the resources are available to sustain the colony. Once there is a drop in both nectar and pollen, drones will be removed from hive and the queen will begin to reduce the amount she is laying. Any supers that are not filled with honey or brood may become neglected. How do you keep them building?
It is nice to have your bees moving up the hive, working the frames and storing honey but once their food source runs out, what is their incentive? Now is the time to prepare your feeder for the sugar water mixture or corn syrup you will be providing. Honey bees require proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and water. Larvae and queens are fed a diet of royal jelly secreted by young nurse bees’ hypopharyngeal glands. This milky white acidic substance has a high moisture content and is very rich in protiens, lipids, B vitamins, C vitamins, sugars, and minerals that are not fully found in sugar water or corn syrup. There are several nutritional supplements which incorporate these needed nutrients to maintain a healthy colony. Here are some mixtures for your feed:
- Honey B Healthy. This feeding supplement is used in spring and winter to stimulate the immune system. This feed stimulant with essential oils prevents mold and fungus in sugar syrup, calms bees when used as a spray, builds colonies when fed during dearth and much more. The scent of spearmint and lemongrass will attract your bees to feed almost immediately.
- Amino B Booster. A blend of free amino acids that assimilates rapidly and directly through the mid gut to the bee’s hemolymph and hemocytes, then transported to the sites where protein is needed for bee growth. Amino B Booster provides your bees the nutrients they need when pollen is scarce or lacks the nutrients bees need.
- Vitamin B Healthy. Helps provide needed nutrients vital for bee health especially when pollen sources are scarce or the pollen lacks the essential nutrients the bees need. Helps build strong healthy colonies for maximum honey production and pollination or can be used to help build up weak, over-winterized colonies, packages, nucs or swarms.
- Hive Alive. A feed to help bees maintain colony strength. Prevents syrup from fermenting and helps bees absorb the nutrients, proteins and sugars needed to increase brood production. Hive Alive strengthens the bees’ immune system to help manage intestinal issues and other diseases.
A colonies health is as essential for winter survival as are the food stores they will need to survive. Providing the necessary feed the will need along with a good supplement will go along way to keep your hive healthy and strong.