Despite the good weather and strong honey flow this summer I decided to feed the bees with sugar syrup. I begun feeding them in August with 5:3 sugar syrup mixed with Nettle Tea and a tiny amount of Apple Cider Vinegar, and by now their combs are filled up with stores. So far I fed my 6 colonies with 88 kg of sugar.
These pics are taken today and as you can see the returning bees are numerous
There is lots of orange (Hawksbeard), yellow (Aster and Water Lilly) and light grey (Himalayan balsam) pollen coming in.
This comb is clearly totally filled with stores. The cells are cupped to the edge of the comb from top to bottom.
Some people asked me how much honey did I harvest this year and I say 8 kg from 2 colonies. When they hear about me feeding them with 88 kg of sugar they question the type of Kenya Top Bar Hive.
What some don't understand is that I bought this year 2 colonies and divided them into 6 colonies, by making splits. This weakens the mother colonies a lot in the "excess honey making" aspect.
If I decided not to do splits I would have had honey to harvest but instead of honey I have 4 more colonies and let me remind you each colony cost 2000 swedish crowns which is approx 200 Euros so even if we are to look at the economics of beekeeping I have won much this year.
Just for the record I made splits for the bees sake not for my own monetary gain. The world of bees is being hammered very hard at this time thanks to our use of pesticides and mono-crop agriculture and they need all our help to get them back to health. Bees swarm every year naturally and that is what I did, I swarmed them so they have a bigger chance to survive the coming winter and other environmental challenges.
Top Bar Beekeeping is by far the best way to give actual freedom back to the bees on a colony level. Bees don't build mono-cell combs as offered by the conventional beekeepers. In my hives I see all sort of cell size from 5,6 mm to 4,6 mm. Only bees know why they prefer such biodiverse cell structure and we must respect their very biology. And since bees prefer biodiversity I think its time for us humans to change our mono-crop fields which are nothing more but deserts for bees, into agriculture based on biodiversity.
Its time we get our shit together! We must act now and make pressure on our governments to make the change but also be the change ourself.