Strange Beehavior

BUG BYTES

Strange behavior summarizes some of the observations reported from beeyards throughout the state.  The very warm weather followed by several weeks of more seasonable temperatures may be the cause of at least some of these odd observations.  Colonies of honeybees (Apis mellifera) got an early start to the year, taking advantage of the heat and nectar flows that occurred in late March.  This buildup of bees and brood, however, comes at a cost.  Egg laying and brood rearing requires either adequate honey and pollen stores or a continuous incoming supply of both.

The weeks of cold weather inhibited the flight of field bees, leaving some colonies without a sufficient food supply.  As a result, there have been incidences of late spring hive loss due to insufficient stores in hives that were doing well as recently as late winter.  This led to a question regarding late spring feeding.  In cases where large colonies of bees are stranded without stores or incoming resources, it may be necessary to feed hives to keep them going until good flying weather and nectar flows resume.