To Feed or Not To Feed

These thermal images show the difference between a hive with the bees clustering low (with plenty of honey above them) and bees clustering high (possibly running low on honey).

I can’t imagine the bees in any of my tall hives are running low on honey. Most of my hives were packed with honey going into the winter. But you never know. The first time I lost a colony to starvation was around this of the year. So…

Starved out bees on a frame from 2013.

I’m going to whip up some sugar bricks this week (or maybe some no-cook fondant, if there’s such a thing, and I think there might be) and get ready to dump some sugar on the bees next weekend.

It hasn’t been a freezing cold winter yet, and it’s nothing compared to last year. Warm weather usually has the bees eating through their honey quickly.

But has it been that warm? I don’t think so. I’ve had maybe two or three days this winter when it was warm enough for my bees to fly, and they weren’t out in full force or anything. Just crawling around kind of flying, no major cleansing/pooping flights.

So outwardly speaking (i.e., reading the bees without taking the tops off the hives), I get the sense the bees are clustering well this winter. Cold, but not so cold they can’t move around the hive to eat honey (low risk of the so-cold-that-they-starve scenario). But not so warm that they’re consuming all their honey like it’s going out of style (low risk of eating-all-their-honey-and-starving scenario). Some call this the perfect balance.

If they were flying — which I believe requires more energy (honey) than not flying — then I’d feel more concerned. But I’m not too concerned.

But like I said, I’ll play it safe and get some sugar ready for them by next weekend.