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Author Topic: Feeding Dry Sugar in Late Fall  (Read 2515 times)
luvin honey
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« on: October 06, 2009, 05:38:10 PM »

I hoped to not be feeding, but I got so busy in Aug/Sept that I believe my 2 original hives swarmed. Their populations were so down when I checked in Sept, that I thought perhaps they were dying. But, they both have queens but almost no stores.

Since it was my poor management and probably not their genetics that caused this situation, I want to feed them this one winter.

I've read about sugar feeding on the floor of the hive. Do I just dump a pile in the back? It seems I would want it under their winter cluster, but how do I get the sugar there without pulling back the bars, breaking all the attachments, and cracking open the propolised bars?

Thanks. I bet this one is really obvious, but I just am not coming up with ideas.
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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2009, 06:00:27 PM »

What type of hive do you have?    Dumping on the floor is not the best, as they will either ignore it or not be able to access it when they cluster.   For one of my Warre hives last year,   I cut a 4" slit in the burlap top cloth between the center 2 top bars.  I then put an empty hive body on top of the cloth, cut a piece of 4" PVC to fit and made like a silo over the slit of sugar.  I filled around the PVC pipe with saw dust.  Basically made a deep quilt box with a pvc silo of sugar.  The on top of this I put the normal quilt box.    It worked fine.  One possible issue would be if the cluster did not move up the center of the hive but ended up on a side and wouldn't get to the center 4",  then they could starve.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2009, 09:35:20 PM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar
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Michael Bush
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luvin honey
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2009, 10:58:03 PM »

Robo, I have topbars. So, it seems like the solid topbar configuration limits dry sugar feeding.

Michael, I read your info on the dry sugar. Can you help me with the issue of what happens with clustering/breaking cluster in winter? I don't quite understand if they do move when it warms up to get food (like dry sugar on the bottom of my hive) or if they need to feed on the comb they are clustering on...

Also, if I dump dry sugar in the bottom, would 10# be too much in a 4-foot hive that's half filled with bees? Do I dump it in the back and then use a follower board or something else to try to shove it under the combs?

Thanks much!
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2009, 08:00:40 AM »

I'm not sure you going to come up with a good way to feed dry sugar to a TBH.  It seems like giving the cluster continued access to the sugar will be an issue.  I don't think intermittent access (ie. when the weather is warm) is sufficient,  if in deed they need the added feed.   You may consider making some sort of candy frame that you could hang next to the combs.   I never tried it with candy,  but I did make a few hanging syrup feeders for my TBH the first year and they seemed to work.

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luvin honey
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2009, 08:54:08 AM »

Robo--Do you have a plan or directions for those bar feeders? I'm going to feed them heavily with syrup as long as possible to try to get their comb backfilled. I should just let them go, but they were so strong and I feel this is my fault. I didn't protect them from robbing or swarming when I should have....

So, if you have a description for how I could build this, I would be grateful!

luvin' honey
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2009, 09:10:26 AM »

I'll try to get some pictures tonight, so you get the idea.
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2009, 09:08:34 PM »

Here are some photos of my TBH syrup feeder.   I successfully wintered 4 nucs using these.




They hung in the place of 2 top bars. They had wine corks in them as floats and where lined with window screen.  They where filled thru the PVC pipe in the top so that the hive didn't need to be opened to fill (fill tube had screen on it to keep bees from coming out).  I used a 1/4" dowel as a dipstick to check syrup level,  you don't want to over fill them or it will run into the hive.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2009, 11:55:43 PM »

Thanks, Robo! My 10-yo computer is not even showing avatars right now, its memory is so bad. I'm going to get linked up again Fri at the library and get a good look at your pix. Your above description makes me think I have seen them on a different thread. I'll see if I can get it figured out in time.

Does the syrup freeze? I know my very sugary jams don't freeze solid in the freezer. Is this the same with 2:1 syrup? Or does it thaw enough when they can get off cluster to move to it?

Again, thank you Smiley
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Robo
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2009, 09:08:47 AM »

Does the syrup freeze? I know my very sugary jams don't freeze solid in the freezer. Is this the same with 2:1 syrup? Or does it thaw enough when they can get off cluster to move to it?

I've never had it freeze,  with the sugar,  the freezing point is lowered.  Bees won't take cold syrup.

I put the feeder so the cluster was right against it and could get syrup with moving very far.   Granted I did have these in double hives, so there was a cluster on both sides of the feeder.  I also had 7watt night lights in the bottom of the hive adding some heat.    I also used warm syrup when feeding.
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mtbe
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2009, 04:34:38 PM »

Robo,

I know you posted those before...somewhere, and maybe even asked you this before as well....

I plan on making similar this weekend, but for candyboard.

What wood did you use for the sides, and how did you seal it?
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Robo
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2009, 10:23:33 PM »

The sides are made out 1/4 luan and the seams are sealed with beeswax.   But if your making candy frames, you don't need the sides.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2009, 10:36:37 AM »

Yes, you can just dump some in the back, but I would get it a little wet to clump it up so they will not haul it out and so they will recognize it as feed.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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luvin honey
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2009, 05:58:44 PM »

Thanks, everyone!
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
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