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Author Topic: winter emergency feeding down under  (Read 2982 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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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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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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« 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
Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2009, 09:13:40 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

Don't be ridiculous, I don't have that much time nor an extension cord to reach all the way out in the paddock. I small gas powered heater at a safe distance would be much more practical. Otherwise I could just keep them in the house with a heater.

Thanks for the advice guys. If anyone has any other fondant ideas feel free to post them.

James.
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2009, 09:23:50 AM »

Hi James,
Here is my fondant recipe along with some notes:

"6.25 to 1 ratio of sugar to water, with half a table spoon of vinegar per kilogram of sugar.
This ratio worked best for me - no need to keep heating for long periods of time to lower the water content, but enough time that things didn't happen too fast for me.

I put it on a high heat, and kept stirring. It will suddenly thicken at some point. A minute or so later, I would start checking the temp, and the starting point was usually around 245 or so. As soon as it hit 265 degrees F or so, I'd turn the heat off. Some batches went to 270, but no problems were caused. I found this process quite fast and simple.

I didn't let it cool for long, just a minute or two (I was making small batches though due to cooking pot size constraints!). It was still boiling when I poured it into the moulds. Any large bubbles that rose to the surface I just patted down with a spoon.

I didn't whisk it, I found that dropping samples into water too hit and miss and laborious, and I can run out a batch in half an hour or less."


I used this a couple of years ago and got good results. However I doubt I will ever go so such trouble again - it's hot, time consuming, messy and not much fun at all. I found I was able to get more sugar into a hive using the newspaper method. I had one hive in terrible strife, so as well as sugar on top of newspaper, I pulled out a couple of frames on the side and filled the space with a huge amount of sugar. They came through Winter in fantastic condition. Sometimes the simplest things really do work the best, and plain old white sugar with some newspaper is is simple as it gets.

Best regards,
John.
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Joelel
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« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2009, 11:17:06 AM »

Sugar water in an inside feeder is the only way to go,they need both water and sugar that is in honey.

http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Feeders/products/113/
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Acts2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation
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« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2009, 01:06:33 PM »

Quote
Sugar water in an inside feeder is the only way to go,they need both water and sugar that is in honey

in the winter, probably not.  might depend on where you live, but sugar water in the hive in winter is usually a bad idea.  it adds moisture to the hive.  the bees will not take cold syrup.  it gets moldy. 

fondant is a good solution for many.  in a wetter climate like mine, dry sugar is a better solution.  the best thing is to leave enough honey in the hives, but we don't always judge that correctly and the weather can mess up our calculations  smiley
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Yarra_Valley
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« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2009, 04:10:02 PM »

Sugar water in an inside feeder is the only way to go,they need both water and sugar that is in honey.

http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Feeders/products/113/


Joelel, this has already been discussed above, but thanks for stopping by.

Koala John, thanks for advice. I could put frame out and add more sugar, just worried about it running out the entrance and creating a robbing problem. I'll take a look on the weekend and see how they're going with what I've given them. I gave them castor, which isn't something I'd usually do due to the higher expense, but I figured they'd be able to consume it faster if need be due to the smaller grain size. Oh yeah, Melbourne section meeting on Thursday, if you're interested.

-James.

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« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2009, 10:38:42 PM »

Quote
Sugar water in an inside feeder is the only way to go,they need both water and sugar that is in honey

in the winter, probably not.  might depend on where you live, but sugar water in the hive in winter is usually a bad idea.  it adds moisture to the hive.  the bees will not take cold syrup.  it gets moldy. 

fondant is a good solution for many.  in a wetter climate like mine, dry sugar is a better solution.  the best thing is to leave enough honey in the hives, but we don't always judge that correctly and the weather can mess up our calculations  smiley

A hive will have a gallon gone in a day.Moisture in the winter or summer no difference,it will be gone before it gets cold. Will they eat cold honey ?
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Acts2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation
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« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2009, 12:36:17 AM »

you are incorrect about the moisture and about using an inside feeder if the winters are cold.  you could probably do it in Florida or other southern places.  perhaps you can do it where you live.  most of the rest of us can not.  the moisture does make a difference and it can be the difference between a hive surviving winter, or not.  it is also unwise to open the hives during winter on days that are cold.  in places where the entire winter is cold, it's better not to open at all and break the seal the bees have created.

putting a bucket of warm syrup on top of the hive during warmer days in winter is fine.  it should be removed before dark or cold.  temp differences can cause the bucket feeder to drip. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2009, 08:20:10 AM »


a hive will have a gallon gone in a day.Moisture in the winter or summer no difference,it will be gone before it gets cold. Will they eat cold honey ?

Brood nest is way to small go go through anywhere near a quart in a day.

Will they eat cold hoeny? lets look a little into that in a little more detail. Honey, being hygroscopic (absorbing or attracting moisture from the air) also tends to absorb moisture, diluting it. Therefore you can have the same problem with honey as you can with sugar syrup; fermentation and the associated ill effects on the bees.  Therefore it can be advisable to remove excess unsealed honey before the onset of winter. When the bees cap the honey with wax, the wax prevents it from absorbing moisture.
-James.
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« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2009, 03:45:29 PM »



Well lets see,It takes heat to evaporate water and make moisture. In the cold winter in a hive, where do you get enough heat to evaporate water to make moisture ? If it's warm enough to evaporate water then it's not cold enough to hurt the bees in any way.It takes a long time with heat to ferment sugar water or honey,so in a cold winter you have no fermentation and no moisture. Oh yes by the way,bees eat moisture off of anything. I also say, if they eat cold honey,they eat cold sugar water or frozen sugar water as they do moisture.

To start with,I would never close up a hive for the winter before making sure they had enough of everything. You know even if I thought I had to get in a hive for some reason and might leave a crack in the cover,all you have to do is throw a blanket over it and tie it down. Better yet move your hive in your house.

The whole problem is,man messes the bees whole life up.Man takes them our of their natural hives and puts them in man made hives and expects them to do as good. Puts them in weather where is not normal to them.

To start with, you don't leave bees any more room in a hive for the winter then they need. With little room they can keep it a little warm and live a normal life.

Different strokes for different folks,do what turns your crank.
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Acts2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation
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« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2009, 03:59:53 PM »

Quote
where do you get enough heat to evaporate water to make moisture


there is moisture in the air.  the bees  create heat.  if you add syrup, you have added moisture and even in the cold, moisture evaporates....if more slowly.

you have much to learn.

Quote
You know even if I thought I had to get in a hive for some reason and might leave a crack in the cover,all you have to do is throw a blanket over it and tie it down. Better yet move your hive in your house
.

you are joking, right?
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2009, 06:51:44 PM »

Quote
where do you get enough heat to evaporate water to make moisture


there is moisture in the air.  the bees  create heat.  if you add syrup, you have added moisture and even in the cold, moisture evaporates....if more slowly.

Right,There is moisture in the air all the time and bees create heat and sugar water will put a little more moisture in the air even if cold it will slowly evaporate.People are talking about moisture in the air and honey absorbing moisture,well, moisture in the air is not the problem,the problem is the bees eating to much water or moisture.If you feed sugar water it should be real thick so they don't get to much water.The best thing to do is feed corn syrup or pollen or nectar and water separate,that way they can eat what they need.

you have much to learn.

I'm not going to say you have alot to learn because we all do and you know that.

Quote
You know even if I thought I had to get in a hive for some reason and might leave a crack in the cover,all you have to do is throw a blanket over it and tie it down. Better yet move your hive in your house
.

you are joking, right? NO
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 12:03:52 PM by Joelel » Logged

Acts2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation
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