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  • Writer's pictureLinda

The danger of starvation

Cliffe Castle Bee Blog #19 2023

Mike and I checked the bees today. There are ever more bees on the outer frames.

All the syrup we gave on 28 July has been taken and there was none stored on the frames. Just three frames of eggs and sealed brood in the hive, which clearly demonstrates the relationship between food availability and brood production.

The Cliffe Castle grounds provide a ready supply of nectar and pollen for our little colony, but this season, the poor weather has drastically reduced the number of flying-days for forage collection. It is important for the beekeeper to keep a close eye on the available stores in honeybee colonies throughout the year because starvation can occur whenever sufficient food is either not available or is unable to be collected due to external factors like weather.

But despite their circumstances, our Cliffe Castle bees were as gentle as ever. So we gave them a syrup feed top up and I decided to reinstate the weekly inspections just to be on the safe side.


This photo illustrates a situation that all beekeepers dread. In this colony (not the Cliffe Castle bees) the bees have starved.

The tell-tale signs of starvation are finding frames of dead bees with their heads down in the base of the cells and their bottoms sticking out from the comb face. These poor creatures have been desperately trying to find the very last drops of honey or nectar on the frame.

Beekeepers across the country will currently be keeping a careful eye on the stores available in each of their colonies, and where necessary will provide some syrup or fondant (a block of sugar icing, rather like that used to cover cakes) to tide them over.



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