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Beekeeper’s Notes: Starving Hive Is A Horrible Sight

Published on: 1 Jun, 2021
Updated on: 31 May, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

It’s a horrible thing to see a hive starving. Dead bees on the floor, others with their heads deep into the comb seeking the last of the stores and lethargy among the living bees.

On the hawthorn blossom.

I had a real shock earlier this week. I looked at our hives the day after the bad weather over the last month and two hives had ran out of stores and starved.

I feel embarrassed to admit it. I could have avoided it by feeding them. I was taken unawares knowing they were ok going into the winter and ok when we inspected them before the bad weather.

I try to ensure they have enough stores to take them through the winter, firstly by not taking off too much honey. But also by offering them feed before the winter.

The problem has been the prolonged cold, wet spell, just when their stores were at their lowest, which meant they couldn’t get out to forage and replenish their larder.

We are not the only ones to have had this happen. I should have seen it coming but I didn’t.

They have been fed now and the queens, which are the last to succumb, seem to be ok, so I’m hoping the affected colonies will recover.

Life goes on in the other hives with them seeking out the wonderful blossom around the gardens.

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