You’d think that one teeny little dot wouldn’t make any difference. That one teeny little dot wouldn’t make such an eejit of you. Hive alive but it does! There’s this product made in Ireland from some secret ingredients which include seaweed extract that just sang to the bohemian, eco, save the bees, side of me. It’s called Hive Alive (disclaimer, I am not getting anything for promoting or otherwise of this product). Anyway, it was mentioned at one of the beekeeping classes as being the thing to help boost your bees over winter. I’m a sucker for any new gadget, gizmo or product on the shelves. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (ABBA side-track pardon the pun, for anyone wanting to stray off for a few mins). I’ve an unfortunate hole in my pocket when it comes to shiny and new.
The claim is that Hive Alive is the #1 feed supplement for honeybees worldwide. Why wouldn’t I want to use it? It stared out at me on the table at a stand at one of the bee conventions I was at and before I knew it one on my hands grabbed it and examined the bottle label closely while my other hand dived into my pocket and handed over the cash. As usual, when I got home, a little guilt kicked in at my this small extravagance as I placed it on a shelf. I sat on it for months, it just taunted me from its lofty height while I mulled over when the best time was to use it. The time finally came. Time to feed my bees before winter, the then solitary hive – they were a pampered lot, although I’m sure they would have preferred to be left alone. I studied the label and dosage and added in the mix. As I stirred it into the sugar/water syrup I thought, “Gee a bottle of this wouldn’t last long if I had a lot of hives.”, and it smelt a bit strong but who am I to argue with science. Into the top feeder it went. I didn’t notice much difference in the bees’ antics as they went into and out of the hive as the waft of thymol (like the herb thyme which it also contains) hung like a fugue around the hive.
I went back a few days later to see how much of the laced syrup the bees had taken down. None! Hmm..strange, “I’ll give it a few more days.” A week later, still no syrup taken. What was wrong? This stuff must be poison or something. Then, ding, the penny dropped. I went back and checked the label. This time I took a photo of it with my phone and blew it up. Oh, the dosage is 2.5ml per litre of syrup NOT 25ml. Just as well my bees are decerning and ignored my best efforts. I haven’t bought it since but I think I will this year, I think I’m feeling brave enough again. I’m still hearing good things about it. I’ll wear my new reading spectacles this time before I dose!
Nice short video showing what a top feeder is Feeding sugar syrup in our new 2 in 1 Poly Nuc Box BSHoneyBees.co.uk 1.29 min video by BSHoneyBees.co.uk
Article on Autumn and winter management: feeding of bees (Scottish Beekeepers study notes “If remaining stores are inadequate in September, or if stores are short in spring, or if a swarm is hived, bees should be fed with sugar syrup.”
Dave A Cushmans article’ on Feeding Honey Bees for Winter
Autumn Feeding of our Honeybees in the Poly Hive 17.25 min video by The Norfolk Honey Company