In some areas of the UK, the summer weather has left a lot to be desired! In the north-west of England we have seen persistent rainfall for a few weeks with few dry, warm days. This has led to a lack of suitable forage and a lack of days when the bees can get out of the hive for any length of time.
The result? Some colonies (especially this year’s new colonies) are very short of food stores. It may be worth checking your colonies food reserve and (if you choose to, some see feeding as a “treatment”) considering feeding them. The simplest option is pour one litre of boiling water onto one kilogram of white sugar and stir. Adding a desert spoon of cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or lemon juice will start to invert he sugar to make it more easily digested by the bees, but this is entirely optional.
The picture above shows a commercially available feeder (search for a “nucleus feeder”) that sits on a top-bar with a slot cut into it to match the access slot in the feeder. With this, simply lift the roof and open one side of the feeder to add syrup without disturbing the bees. This is best done late in the evening to reduce the risk of attracting other bees or wasps who may rob the hive if they discover an easy food source.
Hope we all see an improvement in the weather soon!