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Author Topic: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not  (Read 3374 times)

Offline tillie

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Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« on: September 22, 2007, 12:53:36 PM »
We are in a dearth in Georgia and we don't have a fall flow. I fed my bees in late August and early September with the idea of helping them build up stores and found my hives overrun with SHBs - you saw my pictures:
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=11252.0

I went to Canada on vacation and left a quart on each hive on Sept 6.  That is long gone now and when I opened the hives today, there's no food in the feeder, but there are many fewer SHBs. 

My thought is to let the bees make do with the food they have for the moment - I checked frames and each hive has frames of honey in the food super above the brood box...one hive doesn't have a lot but they do have enough for a while.  I'm inclined to wait for cooler weather when the SHBs will diminish anyway and then feed the bees.

What do you think?

Linda T overrun with SHBs in Atlanta
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2007, 03:59:04 PM »
Feeding has it's problems.  Starving does too.  If you think there's any kind of flow that they are adding to their stores, I'd let them.  If you think they have enough food for the winter, I'd leave them alone.  If there's any doubt about them having enough to eat, either now or over winter, then I'd feed them.
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Offline randydrivesabus

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2007, 11:48:00 AM »
atlanta is pretty mild...why couldn't you feed during the winter?

Offline tillie

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2007, 02:28:38 PM »
I can feed during the winter. 

I feel a little burned right now because one of my hives absconded and the two splits I made died, so I am anxious to keep these girls who are left happy.  That might mean keeping them fed, but since I checked yesterday and both hives have stores currently (not enough to make it through the winter, though, because of the dearth), then I'll wait until October when the SHB should be died out to start feeding again.

Linda T a currently confused beekeeper in Atlanta
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Offline sc-bee

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2007, 09:22:18 PM »
Your feeding syrup---from what I gathered from the post. How does that add to the demise by shb? Unless you crowd the queen out if she were laying and therefore cut down on your hive population? Pollen patties I understand to be a problem with shb and also grease patties can bee. Not sure about syrup, help me understand.

But as stated don't feed unless you have too. Plenty of feeding time left here in the South.
John 3:16

Offline tillie

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2007, 09:36:29 PM »
I don't know for sure about the syrup but since the SHBs eat honey out of the comb (I've got pictures) why would they not eat syrup out of a baggie?  Of a feeder?  All I know is that with the feeder in the hive, I saw hundreds of SHBs - without any sugar syrup in the hive, I see much diminished numbers.....

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Offline JP

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2007, 12:58:52 PM »
Tillie, Have you tried shb traps?
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Offline Cindi

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2007, 11:14:08 AM »
Linda, ah so many bummers have happened to you.  Keep your chin up, things will get better.  That SHB sure has made a mess with your bees, eh?

JP, I think Linda was using some kind of traps for catching the beetles, but I think they just got out of control, that is a bummer.

Linda, I think that you need to feed your bees, if you don't they are going to starve, and then will will lose them all  :(  Still, have a great day and a great life.  Cindi
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Offline tillie

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2007, 02:00:13 PM »
I have several traps on my hives - a vinegar trap in a frame that I bought from Brushy Mountain and a Sonny-Mel trap that I made myself that regularly catches and drowns them.  So far the SHB hasn't made a mess in my hive other than their ugly presence.  I haven't had the bad smell or the destroyed comb.  The bees tend to keep the masses of beetles corralled  in the corners. 

But I sure don't like them.  I know not to put a grease patty in the hive because it ups the numbers of SHBs, but I also am concerned that feeding sugar syrup will do the same thing.

Linda T in Atlanta
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Offline sc-bee

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2007, 12:46:24 AM »
Wow Tille---I got pictures too, remember!!! I think it may be a combination of the honey with the pollen (but then of course they will also go to a grease patty). I don't think it is one thing that makes a determination of where they attack---I think we know a lot of factors play in. Hive strength, empty comb space, pollen, feed maybe, and some also think screened bottom boards are beneficial to shb. An empty inside feeder is also a good place for them to hide. Bottom line--- if you get to the point where you have too-- feed the bees.
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Offline Cindi

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2007, 10:12:30 AM »
Ah Linda, I wish you well.  Any anyone else that is having issues with these hideous bugs.  That comment about the bees keeping the beetles corralled in the corner.  When I attended the Bee Masters Short Course at SFU this early spring that was one of the discussions.  How the bees many times seem to corral the beetles in the corners.  There were theories about why they do this, but no proven research that was brought to the forefront.

I bet that the bees corral them (this makes sense) is so that they can't get onto the comb to eat the food or lay eggs.  What I really don't understand is, why on earth don't the bees have the capability to destroy the beetles.  Or maybe they do?  I don't know much about these SHB, but they certainly are an interesting bug.  If my memory serves me, it was spoken about that the bees actually feed the SHB to keep them in the corral.  Has anyone here looked closely enough at the antics going on between the bees and bugs?

Good luck with the beetles, like I said, I wish you all well.  Have a wonderful and beautiful day in this great life of ours.  Cindi
There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2007, 11:32:35 PM »
They will Coral them and there have been cases documented of the bees feeding them  :'(. Also when you open a hive they begin to run and deposit their eggs as they do so (so I have been told).
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Offline Cindi

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2007, 01:42:51 PM »
I would still like to know why the bees don't kill these beetles, sounds like they are big enough that the bees could bite them to death.  Hmmm...what's up, eh?  Have a wonderful day, best of life.  Cindi
There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service

Offline Scadsobees

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Re: Difficult choices: Feed the bees and increase the SHBs or not
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2007, 01:50:31 PM »
I don't *think* that the SHB will increase because of sugar water.  The trick is to make sure that it doesn't give them a place to hide or lay eggs.  I think that the larvae need a protein or lipid (wax?brood remnants?) source to grow, but don't quote me on that....

It isn't the actual beetle that is the problem eating honey/syrup, it is the larvae.  I don't think that a feeder would give them a place to have larvae, unless you are disturbing the hive to put it on.

And no grease of pollen patties, this is an open invitation...

I've been watching them in my obs. hive, its been interesting.  There is one place b/w a frame and the glass that the bees can't get to so they corral the beetles there, up to 7 of them.  There is open hostility to the beetles, lots of pinching, but the bees can't do much to the smooth curved shells, not when the beetles "cower" so no appendages are sticking out.  And boy are they fast!!!

What I did do was to stuff some pollen sub through the feeder mesh, since that is the only place to feed them.  This gave the beetles a place to lay eggs, and a place for the larvae to grow.  There was an infestation, which I think I helped by stirring it up and giving the bees access to it all.  It was interesting watching the beetles slip through the #8 hardware cloth to escape (and get crunched, ha ha 8-).

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