There will be a few beekeepers this easter wondering whether to give their bees a spring feed. First we must understand why we do this and the simple answer is to encourage spring brood rearing but as we know for bees to produce brood they also need pollen and this can be a problem if there if the bees don't have a pollen source, whether it was stored last year or collection this spring. An observation outside the hive on a warm spring day will give you some indication of pollen entering the hive, also a quick inspection will also tell you if there is pollen stored in the frames available for brood rearing. If the hive still has stores of honey I tend not to feed as I need close on empty frames so the queen has plenty of room to lay but don't forget you should always have two frames of stores in total at all times during the spring and summer months.
The next question is what format of feed to give bees this time of year? well a mix of 1:1 sugar water is about the best as this sugar mix is about as close as you get to nectar from flowers and this will stimulate your bees as if there is a nectar flow on. The down side of feeding anything stronger is that the bees might store it and block the brood area with honey triggering swarm fever.
Dont forget this is a critical time of year as brood rearing is started to increase dramatically and stores get consumed at an alarming rate so continue to heft you hives and feed if necessary.
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