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Apparent Contradiction When Feeding Causing Starvation

Categories: FEEDING.
Bee Keeping: Mysteries Of Bee-keeping Explained

It is possible that feeding a stock of bees in spring, may cause them

to starve! whereas, if let alone, they might escape. Notwithstanding

this looks like a contradiction, I think it appears reasonable.

Whenever the supply of honey is short, probably not more than one egg

in twenty which the queen deposits, will be matured--their means not

allowing the young brood to be fed. This appears from the fact that

several eggs
may be found in one cell. I transferred over twenty stocks

in March, 1852--most of the cells occupied with eggs contained a

plurality; two, three, and even four, were found in one cell; it is

evident that all could not be perfected. Also, the fact of these eggs

being at this season on the bottom-board. Now suppose you give such a

stock two or three pounds of honey, and they are encouraged to feed a

large brood, and your supply fails before they are half grown. What are

they to do? destroy the brood and lose all they have fed, or draw on

their old stores for a small quantity to help them in this emergency,

and trust to chance for themselves? The latter alternative will

probably be adopted, and then, without a timely intervention of

favorable weather, the bees starve. The same effect is sometimes

produced by the changes of the weather; a week or two may be very fine

and bring out the flowers in abundance--a sudden change, perhaps frost,

may destroy all for a few days. This makes it necessary to use

considerable vigilance, as these turns of cold weather (when they

occur) make it unsafe, till white clover appears; but if the spring is

favorable, there is but little danger, unless they are robbed. If you

take the necessary care about worms, you will know which are light, and

which heavy, unless your hives are suspended; even then, it is a duty

to know their true condition, in this respect. This is another

advantage of the _simple_ hive; merely raising one edge to destroy

worms, tells you something about the honey on hand. To be very exact,

the hive should be weighed when ready for the bees, and the weight

marked on it; by weighing at any time after, tells at once within a few

pounds of what honey there is on hand. Some allowance must be made for

the age of the combs, the quantity of brood, &c. It is wrong to begin

to feed without being prepared to continue to do so, as the supply must

be kept up till honey is abundant.