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Author Topic: winter emergency feeding down under  (Read 2995 times)
Yarra_Valley
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« on: July 21, 2009, 07:11:45 AM »

Hi,

After some advice on this one. I'm from Australia, so winter here. Its half way through winter and most hives are doing well. One however is a little light. My fault I guess for overwintering in a nuc, but its got through two winters so far. All of my other hives are standard Langstroth 8 frame deeps.

The best way to feed it would be to give a frame of honey, but I don't really have any available to give it; taking from another hive could compromise the donor hive, and then there are those which have enough stores but still have a question mark over them in regards to disease. So will have to feed sugar in some form if possible. I'm wary of feeding syrup, as due to the cold they won't be able to draw off the moisture, which could lead to several problems. Any advice on how I should feed them. 

Any advice welcome, thanks!

James.
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bearpaw
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2009, 07:51:16 AM »

Hi James!

Nice to see some more Aussies here! I'm down in Tasmania and only have one hive at the moment - so I'm a bit new to this all. How about feeding them honey (bought in - not in the comb) instead of sugar syrup... would that work?

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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2009, 07:55:15 AM »

Hi bearpaw. Two problems with feeding them honey. I'd have to buy it (don't have any on hand right now), which would could turn out to be expensive, and difficult to know if theres any disease in it or not. How is your winter going down in Tasmania?
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SlickMick
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2009, 08:19:23 AM »

I understand that granulated sugar is used by some beeks in the US but you would need someone over there to let you know how its done

From memory I think that they place it  on their inner covers.

Mick (another Aussie)
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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
SlickMick
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2009, 08:22:56 AM »

Just found this link whilst having a look through the threads

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/emergency-feeding/. It should help

Mick
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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 08:59:13 AM »

Thanks Mick! That's a good link. No inner covers here. We use migratory style covers, so can put it under that and it should be in direct contact with the cluster, or close. They are able to break cluster, as its been warm enough some days for them to bring in a little pollen. Nights are also very mild this week, unusual 14 c outside and its 11pm!. its usually about 0 c now!

James.
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SlickMick
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 09:09:48 AM »

It's amazing the difference a couple of thousand km makes. My hives are going great guns and bring in nectar and pollen. One even had the hide to swarm a week or so ago. How dare it!!

Even took a shallow super off one of them this morning.. full to the brim and they were starting to put in burr comb.

I read of all the pre wintering things the beeks on the colder parts of the US continent have to do never thinking that southern beeks in Aus have to do so here also

Hope it goes well

Mick
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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
Eshu
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2009, 10:29:55 AM »

You can put a piece of newspaper on the top bars with the granulated sugar on top of that.  It will have to be a thin layer for your lid to fit, but it will work.
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bearpaw
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 01:24:17 AM »

Hadn't thought of just putting the sugar in the hive granulated. Winter is going great at the moment. We've had inches and inches of rain in the last week or so but the sun is shining today and my girls are out and about gathering pollen. It's my first year so it's all new to me - not knowing what to expect when... but it's exciting.
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Koala John
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2009, 09:37:51 AM »

Hi James,
I'm in Melbourne and have a couple of light hives too. Last weekend I put down a single sheet of newspaper on top of the frames and put as much sugar as possible on top, while still being able to close the lid. I put around 3kg of sugar in each hive. Then I sprinkled a little water on it to entice the bees up to it. I did the same last year and it worked extremely well. I used to spend hours boiling up sugar solutions and pouring into moulds - but dumping it on a sheet of newspaper worked better for me. Has the added advantage of absorbing moisture in the hive. At the end of Winter the uneaten sugar is a solid sheet that lifts out easily.
Good luck, let's hope we have a great Spring just around the corner.
John.
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Wynoochee_newbee_guy
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 01:00:30 PM »

I have question? why not put a top feeder on and put on 1:1 sugar water? or is it two cold? I am not good at converting to centigrade but if its 0c or below might not be good but a top feeder would work well.
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2009, 11:34:56 PM »

I have question? why not put a top feeder on and put on 1:1 sugar water? or is it two cold? I am not good at converting to centigrade but if its 0c or below might not be good but a top feeder would work well.

Hi Wynoochee_newbee_guy. Feeding syrup can create several problems such as dysentry and nosema. Too much moisture which they can't remove this time of year. Also, don't have top feeder for a nuc.
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kathyp
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2009, 11:54:21 PM »

wynoochee, you don't want syrup in your hive over winter.  those of us in the PNW really have to watch that moisture in the hives.  they won't take the syrup when it's cold anyway.
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Geoff
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2009, 12:22:36 AM »

        G'day fellas and Kathy. I thought for a moment we were going to have an all Aussie page but Kathy your welcome and so are you Wynoochee_newbee_guy. Thought for a year or so Australia was going to take over the forum but we have been over run by big numbers.
         Anyway back to the topic. James I have been playing with bees in Latrobe Valley now for about 5 years. Grown from 1 hive to 13 now and have never fed my bees. The only time I tried got over run by ants. The bees are now bringing in pollen and nectar. They'll be OK.

         Geoff.
         

   
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2009, 12:24:12 AM »

wynoochee, you don't want syrup in your hive over winter.  those of us in the PNW really have to watch that moisture in the hives.  they won't take the syrup when it's cold anyway.

Once the cold hits the syrup needs to come off and either straight granulated sugar or a fondant layer placed above the top frames.  It can be laid on paper or the inner cover if one is used.  Cold syrup becomes a huge ice cube that will draw the heat out of the cluster if left on the hive too long.
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2009, 07:41:49 AM »

        G'day fellas and Kathy. I thought for a moment we were going to have an all Aussie page but Kathy your welcome and so are you Wynoochee_newbee_guy. Thought for a year or so Australia was going to take over the forum but we have been over run by big numbers.
         Anyway back to the topic. James I have been playing with bees in Latrobe Valley now for about 5 years. Grown from 1 hive to 13 now and have never fed my bees. The only time I tried got over run by ants. The bees are now bringing in pollen and nectar. They'll be OK.

         Geoff.

Hi Geoff, I remember chatting to you on Ventrillo a few years back. Look forward to chatting to you again sometime. What temperatures are you getting there? My bees can't get out most days in Healesville. They were out last Sunday though for a few hours and bringing in a little pollen. Remember we live in different areas so naturally nectar and pollen sources will be different. Most hives are ok, just the one in question. Would rather feed it and it not need it, than not feed it and it needs it. I had to feed in the autumn after the fires, but didn't get as much syrup in as I wanted.

This weekend I think I'll stick sugar above a layer of newspaper over the top frames of the hives. Its easy and fast. I'd live to make some fondant, if the bees find this more palatable and can consume it faster if I need it. There is the recipe on robo's page with sugar, water and vinegar, and I've heard of sugar and corn syrup. Anyone made fondant before that can help me out as to the fastest and easiest way to do it? Is high fructose corn syrup readily available and cheap enough to make in worth worrying about?

Thanks for all your help. 
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Wynoochee_newbee_guy
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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2009, 02:28:04 AM »

As one who has never been down under I just asume that its in the south  pacific nice and warm year around no freezing temps etc.. So i am wrong.
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2009, 07:42:41 AM »

Yeah, its a pretty big place, so it had pretty much every geographical region possible. Good idea for you to visit here in your winter!

Maybe I'll use castor sugar tomorrow. Being a little finer bees may find it more palatable

James
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Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2009, 03:34:46 AM »

So I added some sugar to that hive. It was in pretty bad nick, just about out of stores. There were a few more interesting things I noted though. The previous evening, around outside the hive were bees that had been out gathering pollen, but seem to have froze before getting back into the hive. These aren't old bees. Perfectly healthy bees which, being put into a sealed container and transported to warm room, would start buzzing around again like normal. The sun on the hive must have made them think it was warm enough and then a cool breeze, or something. Interesting because it was only evident with one hive.

On a more positive note, another more prosperous hive was given a quick inspection to give an idea of brood this time of year. They're storing honey in the migratory lid above their brood. God knows where they got it from, or how they managed to get out of the hive at all given the minimal amounts of sun and temperature. Interesting creatures, didn't expect that.

So that's my update. I still like this fondant idea.
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SlickMick
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2009, 06:07:46 AM »

I suppose that you are now going to sit outside your hive with a hair drier, warming the girls as they come in to land with a load  grin

Mick
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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
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