Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

NBU (National Bee Unit) UK Beekeepers Warning


I was worried recently as my smaller hive was not bringing in enough Pollen and started feeding. Also My NUC was struggling. I asked at my Local group and got blanc stares - now I know it was not my imagination

Warning to UK Bee Keepers:


Dear Valli.

In many areas of the UK nectar flows have ceased and reports are coming in from Regional and Seasonal Bee Inspectors of starving bee colonies, where the beekeeper is not aware that the bees are severely short of food, or the colony(s) have already starved to death. It is also apparent that Wasps are becoming populous in many areas and they too are desperate for nutrition so Beekeepers should be mindful of the need to protect hives from Wasp invasion particularly where feeding is taking place in the apiary.

Colonies particularly at Risk are:

• Bee Colonies where supers of honey have been removed this season and no feeding has taken place.
• Splits / Artificial Swarms and Nucleus colonies made up this year.
• Swarms collected this year where little or no supplementary feeding has taken place.

Immediate action:

• Firstly - Check all colonies feed levels by ‘hefting the hive’ – Check the weight of the colony by lifting below the floor on both sides of the hive to see how much it weighs (Photograph attached - Hefting a Hive). Where the hive is light, liquid feed should be applied directly above the bees. Remove any supers from above the brood box which are empty or have few bees in them. This will help the bees get to the food quickly.
• Feed can be sugar and water mixed at 2:1 ratio or one of the proprietary ready mixed syrups available from Beekeeping Equipment Suppliers.
• Fondant can be used in an emergency if nothing else is available – but liquid feed will be more appropriate at this time of the season.
• Large starving colonies of bees will take 1 gallon (Approx 5 Litres) of syrup very quickly – smaller colonies ½ gallon (Approx 2.5 Litres) may be sufficient to keep them going, but after feeding heft hives again and check the weight – if in doubt feed some more in a few days time.

Further information and Guidance:

Further information on supplementary feeding can be found on Beebase – Best Practice Guideline Number 7 – ‘Emergency Feeding’


To unsubscribe to these updates, follow the link below.


Kind regards,

National Bee Unit.

Queen Trap System Accessory

Are your bees OK Valli? Heading into Autumn soon, do you have enough frames of honey to match frames of brood?


@Rodderick Yes thanks, I had been worried one was not brining in enough pollen and I had started to feed and the wasps have been quite bad - had to stop feeding the NUC as it was being robbed but am feeding them all as of this morning. I just knew something was not right 2 weeks ago - sort of Mother’s instinct kicked in.

My girls were never all going to have enough for winter - I was hoping to rob Emerald to help Sapphire but all those stores have pretty much gone in the last couple of weeks, the weather has just gotten worse.

We have not had much of a summer really - Small island syndrome - very changeable weather.


We get these from the NBU twice a year always weeks after most folk have noticed already


Classic day late and a dollar short? Love the bureaucrats ; -)


Fingers crossed Valli, I guess if you have a couple of weak colonies then you could combine them to help them retain warmth through the winter and if they are doing well next spring, split them again.