ALERT NOTICE: November 20, 2018
This is an "Awareness Notice": Many of you have bees and the attached photos are of a hive of mine that just died out due to starvation even though I had provided them with sugar fondant cake. The bees apparently had moved up and clustered in the front right corner of the top brood box prior to the ice storm. There was little to no stored honey/pollen in that area. The sugar fondant cake had been placed toward the center several days prior to the ice storm. When I opened the hive on this past Sunday afternoon, I found that the hive had died out. There was no indication that the bees had made any effort to consume any of the newly placed sugar fondant. This in its self was very concerning since they had completely consumed another sugar fondant cake earlier prior to my placing this last one on the hive. I have shared this with the Tammy Potter and she said that she had received another similar report. This is very early for something like this to happen in the Fall to Winter time period.
Lesson to me and all---if the stored honey/pollen or supplemental is not directly over and/or easily and readily accessible, the bees may not move over or up to it. This is why we recommend making sure that there are honey/pollen frames on both sides of the area that the bees cluster. If they don’t have frames of stored honey/pollen, then the supplement needs to be very close and directly over the bees.
Another note: Especially with weak or hives with smaller populations, the bees tend to move up and cluster toward the warmest area or side of the hive where the sun shines on the hive the most. In my case the right front portion of the hive.
Recommendation: The next time the weather is in the 40’s or so and sunny, take a look inside your hives.