The aim of Autumn feeding is to prepare your hives for Winter and give the bees a good start in Spring. Going into Winter with stronger beehives and with “fatter” winter bees has been linked to higher survival rates and better Spring outcomes.
We want to maintain our queen laying as long as possible and ensure there is enough honey stored to last until the next honey flow or feeding. This might be in Spring. To do this, it is recommended to begin feeding in early autumn and continue through until you winter down your hives.
When should you winter down your hives? Usually, beekeepers in South Australia complete this by ANZAC Day (April 25). You may have some warm days in May but the season has changed and the bees are starting their winter clustering process.
If your bees are numerically weak with less than four frames of bees consider merging with another strong colony. Taking a weak colony into winter usually does not survive. If it does survive, it rarely bounces back.
Want to Learn More?
We are running an Autumn Hive Management training day on March 4th at the U3A centre, Modbury, SA. Come along and learn how to prepare your hives for winter.