Brown bee colonies with few overwintering workers rarely use up all their supplies. In the last period of willow flowering, however, colonies can have expanded their brood nest considerably. After this, a week of poor weather, rain, or severe cold can be problematic for the colonies. During such periods without flying activity, emergency feeding might help the colonies survive and keep their brood alive. In general, the colonies should have two frames, or about five kilograms of food, at the beginning of spring. The reason for this is that the feeding of brood and the flying to willow flowers for pollen uses up a lot of energy. During the end of flowering, the food supplies are used up, and the cells are filled with either brood or pollen. The brood area will be blocked by honey. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Winter feeding begins when the last batch of honey is harvested. This usually happens between the last two weeks of August and the first two weeks of September. In Finland, feeding might begin as early as the end of July, if the nectar flow ends very early.
In South-West Finland, feed is given in three portions. The total amount of 66% sugar solution amounts to 22-25 liters for one Langstroth hive body colony and 27-30 liters for two hive body colonies. In Dalsland, Sweden 12 kg sugar are given to every overwintered hive.