ODA advises beekeepers on proper winter feeding

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The Ohio Department of Agriculture would like to encourage beekeepers to make sure their bees are properly fed this winter.

Due to drought conditions experienced in Ohio this year, stored food sources might be low for some bee colonies. Honey and pollen are needed to feed bee larvae.

With little available nectar to make honey and poor pollen production from dry soil, the queen bee slows egg production and the larvae present are fed any available stored honey and pollen remaining from the spring.

As these food sources become low, it is important for beekeepers to ensure their bees have a sufficient amount of food stored to survive the winter.

If a beekeeper feels it is necessary to feed their bees, ODA would like to offer the following tips when doing so:

Lift the back of the hive. If the back of the hive is easily lifted, it is likely the bees need to be fed.

Do not open hives when it is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit unless absolutely necessary for feeding.

When the hive is open, add fondant, pollen patties and/or sugar syrup. When completed, close the hive as quickly as possible.

Contact 614-728-6373 or by email at apiary@agri.ohio.gov.

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