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Apparent Contradiction When Feeding Causing Starvation

Category: FEEDING.

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.

Next: How Long It Will Do To Wait Before Feeding

Previous: Care Needed

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