So you think feeding plenty of sugar is best?
Whilst it is true that's it not just the cold that kills bees, relying on only autumn feeding has its drawbacks:-
- You may not have the weather or time to feed colonies in late autumn the level of stores needed to get them through a harsh winter unaided.
- Just providing stores will not necessarily mean that colonies can get to them! Stories of colonies dying of starvation whilst frames full of honey are close at hand are commonplace.
- Weaker colonies are particularly susceptible to not being able to get to available stores.
- Feeding lots of sugar syrup is not the same as letting colonies survive on natural honey stores. Natural honey has an average PH level of 3.9, sugar syrup has a much higher level of 6. Diseases of concern live better in a higher PH.
There are many myths about how colonies of bees react to winter conditions and insulation.
The work carried out by Brother Adam and R.O.B. Manley in the late 1930s is often cited as the reason why hives don't need to be insulated. But many things have changed in the last 80 years!