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Author Topic: Not taking syrup  (Read 1099 times)
Zinc
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Location: Boulder Creek, CA


« on: January 13, 2009, 10:33:50 PM »

I checked my hive two weekends ago and saw a _large_  number (hundreds?) of dead bees in the front entrance and on the ground in front of the hive. The weather back then was a little cool, (50s) but I went in to check the stores. They were down to 2-3 frames full of honey, but only in the top body. The frames nearer the center of the hive were empty, clean. There didn't seem to be as many bees as normal in the hive, but what do I know - it's my first year, maybe there are substantially less in winter?

So I decide to get some syrup back on the hive just in case. So I put a gallon of syrup on top. But they still haven't taken any.

I checked the syrup two days after (about how long it's taken them in the past to go through a gallon) and it was down a very little amount. I checked the syrup a week later - and it really hasn't moved at all.

The weather has been really nice over the last couple weeks - 60s and 70s during the day. I don't really think they're bunched and can't get to the syrup. The bees have been flying, and seem to be taking in a huge abmount of pollen - but I've still been really worried about them.

Should I be feeding them something else? Should I not be worried?

I'll go in this weekend (if the weather permits) and really inspect - is there anything I should be looking for? How much honey do they really need for another month or two before bloom?

Thanks in advance for any help.

-Craig




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Zinc
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 10:39:55 PM »

oops. Double post.
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 10:55:00 PM »

the dead bees are winter clean out.  normal.  if they are not taking syrup at those temps, they don't need it.  if they are bringing in pollen, they are probably starting to raise brood.  before you feed more, you need to know what it looks like inside.  make sure they have enough stores and enough room for brood.
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Zinc
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 11:00:11 PM »

I KNOW they have enough room for brood. I'm just not sure how much honey is enough at this time.
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2009, 01:23:41 AM »

I am going to crack the brood box either tomorrow or Thursday to see if there is room for brood.  I am going to make fondant and place that in any hive that looks as though they need a boost.  I did give a weak hive fondant which they have practically eaten all up.

Also,I am going to buy some MegaBee and start that in a few days...

I was once told that bees will not take syrup if they have a better food source.  I do see that Eucalyptus has begun to bloom here in Aptos, I also see Madrone and Manzanita blooming.

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Zinc
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2009, 08:41:08 PM »

Well, I checked them this weekend and it seems that each weekend brings a different worry! : )

They have enough honey - that's why they're not taking the syrup. I was blown away by how much was in there.

The bottom hive body was between 1/3 and 1/2 full of honey stores (towards the top of the frames.) The bottoms of the frames were empty cells.

The top body is where the action is at. : ) There were about 4-5 frames FULL of honey - towards the sides. And each of the other frames had an amount of honey. Lots of pollen stores as well (as much or more than this past summer, even). I think they're good.

Now bee population and brood count - that's my new worry. : )

There were probably enough bees in the hive to only cover 2-3 frames, if that.

The amount of brood seemed small to me as well - capped, larval and eggs only showing up in the middle 2-4 frames. Nothing like I saw over the spring and summer. As for ratios - there was an ok amount capped brood - a worrisome amount of larval brood and a seemingly larger amount of eggs (it's still hard for me to see the eggs - but there were some)

I found the queen - easy work with the amount of bees there. She seemed healthy, but it's my first year and I won't presume to be able to communicate with her aside from looking at her brood. : )

Is this normal for behavior for winter? Is there something I should do? I can check next weekend to see if the current egg population increases the amount of larva in the hive (see if it's on an upswing). Should I be feeding pollen (or it's ilk) or just leave well enough alone?

Thanks again.
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bugleman
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2009, 01:19:17 PM »

Everything sounds normal to me Zinc!  The bees know what to do.
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HAB
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2009, 01:39:07 PM »

What type Bees do you have?  My Russians overwintered with not many more bees than what you have.  But my Italians kept a full brood box all winter.  Got three hives of unknown bees side by side, all splits from the same hive, and two have just a few more bees than yours while one is one and three-quarters deep full. Smiley
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Zinc
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2009, 04:10:19 PM »

Italians. It's the hive's (and my) first winter so I'm not sure what to expect.

I really should've gotten a second hive to compare with! : )
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jsmob
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2009, 09:19:43 PM »

Your hive sounds just fine. The queen will start laying the 1st of Jan. in our area. As long as your feeder dose not drain on the bees I would keep it on them feeding 1:1 syrup. I would also throw a pollen patty on. At some point they may start taking it. If they do, keep feeding them tell they stop taking it, in the spiring.
But I would not worry, and mostly just leave them alone.

Have Fun!
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