August is usually a poor month for forage – until the Ivy kicks in. However this year it has been particularly bad and all hives have had to be fed as the honey came off at the end of July or early August. The NBU have been giving starvation warnings in some parts of the country too.
Hives have been very light with honey but there is pollen coming in. Regular feeding is particularly beneficial for nucs as these small colonies will grow which means that they are strong for winter. In my view it’s better to feed gently over August and September than giving a big gulp of syrup late in the season as a gentle supply of food is much more like nature. In addition, I don’t have enough feeders anyway!
And what about varroa treatment? That was completed a few weeks ago for most colonies. Those that were treated late have been suffering from Parasitic Mite Syndrome with dead bees in cells. It’s plainly not efficient for the colony to raise larvae and keep them warm and then they either die in the cells only to be extracted by the undertakers or the resultant bees come out as useless with DWV – Deformed Wing Virus.