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  • Writer's pictureLinda

Poor weather = hungry bees

Cliffe Castle Bee Blog #18 2023

No inspection to report on this week. I had decided to make an early visit on Friday last week, to give the Cliffe Castle colony some inverted sugar syrup. This was a “better safe than sorry” decision, based on a pretty dreadful forecast which would restrict the amount of time that the colony's foragers could be out and about collecting nectar and pollen; the growing size of the colony plus the fact that there were no stores visible on the outer frames.

A larger colony has more room for storing honey, usually in a box of 'super' frames which the beekeeper will provide above the main brood frames and from which honey will be harvested when ready. If weather restricts forage, then the colony will simply consume from these stores.

But our little Observation Hive colony doesn't have this extra storage space and so may need extra feeding in periods of bad summer weather. There is nothing to be lost doing this as we give back all the frames of stores that these bees produce for their winter larder. If we were extracting honey from this colony, we wouldn't feed sugar at this time of year as it would risk us producing a jar of “honey” that is instead mostly sugar syrup!

You may have seen items in the media about the scandal of adulterated honey being sold in major supermarkets. If you ask any local beekeeper whether they can produce honey that can be sold for just a couple of pounds per jar they will reply with a very determined “NO.” Pure honey takes a lot of work by both bees and beekeeper! If you are interested in this subject, you can find out more on the Honey Authenticity Network website.


Our Airedale Beekeepers Association gazebo in Keighley Town Hall Square on Saturday, seemed quite popular. Lots of folk called in to find out more about how we keep bees in boxes; how a bee transfers pollen from one flower to another; to learn about the threat of the Asian Hornet and how to report any sightings, and to try some of our local honey. I’m just waiting for all the phone calls about buying some!

And, don't forget there will be a Beekeeper by the Observation Hive on Tuesdays during August from 1.30pm to 3.30pm, ready to answer all your questions. So do drop by!


Jars of honey at a honey show
Honey from Airedale Beekeepers at our Autumn Honey Show


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