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Author Topic: WHEN TO START FEEDING SYRUP  (Read 2066 times)
shelley
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« on: August 02, 2008, 01:12:51 AM »

I'm living in Washington State near Tacoma. I wonder when do people begin feeding your bees syrup for the winter months. Is it in September? Just preparing for the colder months.

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MustbeeNuts
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2008, 09:04:18 AM »

This isn't an answer ,but im curious too, as to when you should feed in the late summer, fall or when there is dearth, how do you know. ??
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2008, 01:30:12 PM »

Blackberry flow is basically over here (Jeff co.), but I see my bees still bringing in quite a bit no nectar, I am not sure from what.  Still some (gray) blackberry pollen and the third round of dandelions is blooming now.

I feel that it is important to feed early fall and then stop feeding so the queen will stop laying late october or so if you feed much past mid-late september, the queen will still be laying too late in the fall, the brood nest will be backfilled with syrup, and the bees will not have a good space to cluster.  You want lots of young bees going into winter, so heavy brood rearing in the next month is good.  Don't let them backfill too much.  Move things around if needed, add empty drawn frames to the edge of the brood nest if possible.

I will feed heavily as soon as I see a real dearth which normally I would expect now but this has been a really late year.  I am feeding nucs /weak hives now and will probably pull last of the supers in 2-3 weeks at the latest. If you are treating you must do this earlier (NOW).   We don't have a much of a fall flow, unless maybe you have a big patch of Japanese Knotweed nearby.  Once the hive weighs as much as you think it should, stop feeding, hopefully they will start to shut down brood rearing about a month later.  This may not apply to some strains of bees (ie Italians) as well, some will rear brood all winter long, you may have to feed these more.  I am planning to try dry sugar on newspaper on the top bars as emergency feed this year.  "Mountain camp method" on Beesource, michael bush explains it on his site

This is what I do in Western WA, very location dependent.  Ask your local bee club /et cetera
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qa33010
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2008, 09:43:37 PM »

     I set out a boardman feeder under the carport (away from the hives) about half a pint of 1-1 or 2-1 sugar-water.  Nothing added (honey, HBH, ect) so they are not attracted by scent.  If they are all over it then I feed.  My situation has been in the past few years that if there is no nectar they will eat the sugar syrup otherwise they leave it alone and I only have ants, flies, hornets and wasps fighting over it.  That's what I do anyway.  They ignored it as of last week.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2008, 10:09:46 PM »

As soon as we have a fall dearth, usually after the first hard freeze I'd feed IF they are light until they are not light.  Around here that's hives that weigh between 100 and 150 pounds.  Closer to 100 for the dark bees and 150 for the yellow bees.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2008, 10:53:49 PM »

I feed sparingly most of the time, I don't believe in babying my bees.  But in the cases of dearth, drought, or unseasonable weather feeding can be a must or you lose the bees.  This spring was such this year, snow and freezing weather until May. 

When Feeding the bees it is more appropriate to ask when to stop as most newbee's over feed. 

When feeding in the fall I feed until the bees backfill most of the brood nest and start making burr comb.  In a hard, prolonged winter the extra honey the burr comb holds can make the difference on whether or not a hive survives. 

The 1st freeze might not stop the bees from taking syrup if it is light and spaced a few weeks from the next one.  2 or more days of continuous freezing will make the bees stop taking syrup, leaving the feeders on after that will do more harm than good.  Remove them and wait until February to start feeding again.
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shelley
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2008, 12:22:54 AM »

Do you usually start feeding in September or October or now in August?
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2008, 11:09:38 PM »

Do you usually start feeding in September or October or now in August?

I feed when they absolutely need it.  I had to feed in May due to starvation of 3 out of 5 hives due to our late winter that lasted all spring.  In the fall I feed in the fall (Sept or Oct) if the bees need it post harvest if the backfill has been insufficient for overwintering.  I use 8 frame mediums for everything (or 5 frame medium nucs) and overwinter in 3 boxes stuffed with honey.  Right now the bees are at 3-4 frames of brood in a 3 box hive with the rest full of stores so I won't be feeding them this fall unless we get some prolonged bad weather.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2008, 08:12:26 PM »

If the hives are light and there is no fall flow in sight, then I would rather start early so they can get it processed and capped.  But if they are not light and there is hope of a fall flow I wouldn't.  Usually we have a lot of decent enough weather to feed between the first hard freeze and when winter actually sets in.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2008, 12:14:41 AM »

[In the fall I feed... if the backfill has been insufficient for overwintering.]

How do you effective gauge this?
Do you have a rule of thumb or is it 'experienced observation'?

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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2008, 01:10:23 AM »

[In the fall I feed... if the backfill has been insufficient for overwintering.]

How do you effective gauge this?
Do you have a rule of thumb or is it 'experienced observation'?



Experience observation.  I've noticed over the years that the bees will backfill the brood chamber except for a 2 frame brood chamber the size of a wide mouth jar lid on each frame.  If I can get them to backfill that much plus draw a little burr comb on a 3 medium hive I know they have enought to last into March.  Provided there are no floods, fires, or earthquakes.
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1of6
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2008, 11:47:15 PM »

...I am planning to try dry sugar on newspaper on the top bars as emergency feed this year.  "Mountain camp method" on Beesource, michael bush explains it on his site...



I saved a couple colonies this way.  It's great insurance.  Be sure to try to feed now though, and use it as insurance.  I am a proponent of this method, and was able to save a few 'otherwise-goners' this way.  I also limped one through this way that became my best colony this year.



Sorry, allow me to clarify - feed syrup (IFF needed) until the big freeze and they can't take it anymore, then switch to MountainCamp Method.
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EasternShore
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2008, 08:18:47 AM »

1 of 6, how do they acess the sugar?
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Ross
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2008, 10:56:25 AM »

If you think you will have a fall flow (ours is golden rod and aster from Sept-Nov), feeding a bit early to get some brood going can help them.  It builds the work force needed to collect nectar, just like in spring.  Here, the bees are basically shutdown in July and Aug and populations can drop considerably.  We should have a good fall.  We had spring rains up through June and just had 2.5" in August.  Sure did help after 20+ days over 100 degrees in July and early Aug.  107 and a 30 mph south wind just sucks moisture out of everything.  Even the blackberries got crispy.
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