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Author Topic: When to stop feeding a new package?  (Read 2504 times)
Zinc
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« on: May 30, 2008, 10:59:38 PM »

Lots of information (and opinions) out there about when and how much to feed established hives, but I can't find too awfully much about when to stop feeding a new package.

I'm about to add a second hive body - the package has been in for around 6 weeks. They're doing great - inspected the hive today and saw new larvae in previously used brood cells!

They're going through a gallon every 4-6 days. When should I stop feeding them and let nature take over?

Thanks in advance.

-Craig
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2008, 11:32:46 PM »

Hi Craig...

I am in Aptos, and I kept the syrup on for around 3 weeks...when I noticed that started taking less, and saw that there was a good flow going on...so I took it off.  (I installed my bees 6 weeks ago ).

I just added a 3rd medium brood box last week and gave them some Mega Bee food.  Just for a boost.

Shar
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2008, 11:40:29 PM »

I would have stopped feeding them about two weeks ago. Stop now and take the training wheels off. They should be able to find something to bring in, you don't want to overfeed.

Read this, it will answer questions. http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm


...JP
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2008, 10:31:55 AM »

Can I ask the same question but from the EAst Coast?  My hives are three weeks old and I'm still feeding them too every few days. Obviously it's a bit cooler back here than in CA, so should I keep going, or let them fend for themselves?
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JP
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2008, 10:41:07 AM »

Can I ask the same question but from the EAst Coast?  My hives are three weeks old and I'm still feeding them too every few days. Obviously it's a bit cooler back here than in CA, so should I keep going, or let them fend for themselves?

How many frames have they drawn out? Do they have capped sugar honey?
Are flowers blooming in your area, any nectar available? Talk with local beeks from your area and ask them what is blooming now and if their bees are bringing in nectar.

The idea is to get them set up so they have food stores for survival but then stop feeding so they can fend for themselves. You can over feed to the point that the broodnest is backilled with the sugar water honey and induce them to swarm.


...JP
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2008, 07:49:43 PM »

Here's my DUH question of the day.  How do I know if it's capped sugar honey?  The caps I'm seeing seem to be white, convex and kind of pockmarked.....
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2008, 09:26:41 PM »

Here's my DUH question of the day.  How do I know if it's capped sugar honey?  The caps I'm seeing seem to be white, convex and kind of pockmarked.....


Capped sugar honey at top of frame, white.


...JP


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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2008, 10:49:48 PM »

    I've had discussions that almost turned into arguments about this.  I've shown the difference to folks and they still disagreed.  Nothing was settled.  I was told that it depended on where the nectar was from determines the cappings. 
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2008, 11:35:03 PM »

    I've had discussions that almost turned into arguments about this.  I've shown the difference to folks and they still disagreed. 


How true.  Clover honey and syrup can look alot alike and some people just like to believe they're right even when they've been shown to be wrong.

Quote
Nothing was settled.  I was told that it depended on where the nectar was from determines the cappings. 

The color of the honey inside can determine the color of the cappings just as much as the honey source used to make the cappings (here comes another arguement).  Most of the time the cappings are made from the same honey as is in the cells, sometimes not.  The nectars get mixed, just like the pollen, once they are in the hive and being processed.  So unless you are pollinating a large crop where 80-90% of the nectar is from the same source, who knows what type of honey was used.  Honey was used, usually mixed, aka wild flower, and it doesn't really matter. The important part is that if the honey is capped it is fully cured and if 90% of the each frame is capped you have a harvestable super of pure honey.

Another point:  The purpose of feeding bees is to insure that they get a better start, hence better chance of survival, than their feral relatives.  Unless I'm experiencing a dearth or drought, where nectar sources are thin to non-existant, I feed them 1 gallon of syrup and let them fend for themselves.  The reason being that what they forage is better for them than what I can provide and they'll build up better and quicker on natural forage.  If they still need stores come fall I can feed then to insure sufficient stores for winter.  That is the main point--Don't over feed in the spring because you can always correct lack of stores by feeding in the fall.
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2008, 05:34:34 AM »

Just to clarify the pic I showed was from a package installation that was being fed sugar water. This colony was very young.


...JP
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Gware
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2008, 09:43:11 AM »

I know a guy who bought 4 packages of bees and he said he was not going to feed them at all.
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Patrick
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2008, 11:28:05 AM »

Hi Zinc,
I have found, down here in Southern California, if I want a 3 lb package to draw out two deeps of comb and maybe move brood up into the second box by July I need to feed almost continually all spring and summer. They take about a gallon a week. The second year only in emergencies is feeding nessesary. I have tried it both ways and the build up was too slow and I was left with too few bees to make it through the winter.
Cheers,
Patrick
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2008, 09:07:30 PM »

I have 3 hives (my first) and since I got them on may 9th ,they have eaten 65lbs of sugar water mixed at  2.5qts to 5lbs sugar. One hive eats far more than the other two and has drawn out 7 frames, The other 2 are drawn out 4-5 frames. I am also wondering when to stop feeding?
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2008, 09:56:48 PM »

JP and I chase swarms and do many cut outs. My rule of thumb is that I give them one gallon of 1 to 1 sugar water with a bit of honey b healthy. I feel this stimulates them to build. I also DO NOT give them any further syrup after that because typically during that time the flow is on. I also make sure that after the flow is off that I put reducers on to help stop any robbing that might occur. This is only my two cents worth and the way I do things here in South Carolina.
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2008, 10:03:26 PM »

Lots of information (and opinions) out there about when and how much to feed established hives, but I can't find too awfully much about when to stop feeding a new package.

I'm about to add a second hive body - the package has been in for around 6 weeks. They're doing great - inspected the hive today and saw new larvae in previously used brood cells!

They're going through a gallon every 4-6 days. When should I stop feeding them and let nature take over?

Thanks in advance.

-Craig

Stop feeding em' when they stop eating it.  Follow the bees. 
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« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2008, 10:19:18 PM »

Agree w/ JP. Unless you have no drawn frames. Whe you are totally starting from scarcth, feed them until they begin to draw out enough frames for your winter needs and if flow is going stop at that point before they fill the second deep or medium has been my practice. Look at like fertilizer. Enough to stimulate the bees, give them a head start and then let nature take its course.
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Zinc
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2008, 11:57:23 PM »

Thanks everyone!

The fertilizer analogy is exactly what I was going for - I just didn't know how much a head start is enough! : )

The bees have pretty much filled out the bottom deep body (8 of the 10 frames) and I've just added the second deep hive body.

There's plenty of capped sugar honey in the hive - and they seem pretty stong. Seems like now would be a good time to take the training wheels off!

-Craig
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2008, 07:58:53 AM »

Per George Imirie:

WHEN DO YOU STOP FEEDING?
It is inherently natural for a honey bee to want to get outside and fly to gather odoriferous natural nectar and pollen rather than being cooped up in a hive eating artificial nectar (sugar syrup) and/or old stored honey. Hence, you can stop feeding when the bees won't take feed anymore. However, this is NOT true in the case of new colonies started in April or May with nothing but foundation. Please note that bees WILL NOT BUILD COMB (draw foundation) in the absence of a nectar flow! Quite often, and particularly in Central Maryland with its nectar flow limited to only April, May, and maybe 10 days of June, if this new colony is not continuously fed sugar syrup (artificial nectar) from the day it was started until September, there will be very little foundation drawn, and maybe not enough to hold 50-60 pounds of winter stores needed to get to next spring!

I feed my new bee packages a 1:1 mixture using 1 gallon jars over the inner cover hole.  I have noticed that when there is a nectar flow, very little syrup is taken by the bees.  But when there is a nectar shortage, they chug it down!
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