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Author Topic: Winter Food woes  (Read 1674 times)
Mason
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« on: December 09, 2010, 04:38:56 PM »

I have 2 hives.  One is 1 deep with a full medium of honey.  I feel pretty good about that one.

The other is 2 deep and very little honey stores.  It's been in the 20's at night and highs of around 40. I put on a medium with no frames and some syrup feeders just as it got cold.  Too late.  I checked them a week later and the bees did not take the syrup.

Here are my questions:

1. I poured some sugar all over the tops of the frames especially over the cluster. about 3lbs/ good or bad? 

2.  should I leave the empty medium with the feeders on in hopes of a break in the weather (which is a reasonable expectation in Atlanta)?

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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 05:09:01 PM »

I'd knock them down to one deep and then put down a sheet of newspaper and then the empty medium.  Pour your sugar on the newspaper and then cover.   The newspaper will give the sugar time to collect moisture and harden.  I'm sure a lot of the sugar you poured on the frame top ended up on the bottom board where they won't have access to it.
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Yuleluder
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2010, 06:07:55 PM »

  I'm sure a lot of the sugar you poured on the frame top ended up on the bottom board where they won't have access to it.

I agree that most of the sugar is probably lying on the bottom board.  I have had limited success using the described method.  I have questioned whether this has actually caused more harm then good.  The only time I would use this method is if they were going to die without anything being done.  This is why I make sure to start my feeding regime in mid August.  I feel more sugar is wasted using the newspaper and dry sugar then anything else.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 06:57:38 PM »

Tomorrow is your best shot, the predicted high is in the fifties. Get what you can get done quick because rain and more cold for the weekend and next week.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2010, 08:38:52 PM »

I agree with Yuleluder.  If you poured syrup on them and then it went down in the 20's that night.....you may not have a hive left.  Experience talking here.   Wasn't it you who started feeding syrup in early fall?  I can't remember if it was you or not.  Anywho, did you understand that Robo was talking about granulated sugar?  I am not trying to insult your intelligence, he said to "pour" and some people do not know this method is with dry sugar.  Called "mountain sugar" method I believe.  I have never used it in Rome.  I wait for a 60 degree day in Decemeber and put in "hot" syrup feeders(110 degrees or so).  As soon as the feeders hit the top bars the bees feel the heat and come running.  They can take around 2 cups during the day it seems like.  Hope this helps and does not sound condescending.  I went from 5 hives last winter up to 11 this winter by splitting alone so I hope I am doing some things right.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2010, 07:45:39 AM »

Sugar on the bottom board gets hauled out for trash usually.  I would put newspaper on the top bars and the sugar on top of that.  The bees will eat through the newspaper.  Making the sugar slightly damp helps keep it from getting hauled out as well.
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Michael Bush
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Acebird
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2010, 09:06:56 AM »

One thing that we have learned about bee keeping is that everyone has their own ideas.  We put a top feeder on our hive last year and about all it did was produce a mold garden.  Our bees made it right up until early Spring.  Then in late March activity subsided so we opened it up to find all the bees dead on the bottom board.  Except for the center core the frames were full of honey.  We harvested about 10 pounds of honey from the dead hive.  The experts told us moisture killed them.  We were so concerned about the bees freezing to death we didn't have enough ventilation in the Spring when it gets real wet around here.

So this year we removed the roofing material from the front of the hive, turned it 90 degrees and haven't feed them a drop.  They are on their own.  In the Spring we will prop the cover up for ventilation assuming they make it.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2010, 11:43:38 AM »

I would always feed a light hive.  There is no genetics in the world that can help them survive without food... but moisture is a hard thing for bees...

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Michael Bush
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Acebird
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2010, 03:50:11 PM »

What is considered light?  Our logic is if they have filled two supers on top with honey the two bottom brood boxes are full.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2010, 08:52:26 PM »

If they have enough stores, I don't feed.  That is my plan is to not NEED to feed.  I'm just saying if you do need to feed, you should.  Light is you can lift the boxes and they obviously are not very full.  Heavy is you have to work to lift the boxes.  To be more specific, if you lift fifty pound boxes of nails, or bags of feed you get a feel for fifty pounds.  The back of the hive should feel that heavy or heavier going into winter.
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Michael Bush
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Robo
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2010, 09:33:36 PM »

What is considered light?  Our logic is if they have filled two supers on top with honey the two bottom brood boxes are full.

Not a good assumption.  The brood boxes could be filled with brood when they fill the supers with honey.  If there is no Fall flow,  the brood chambers don't get back filled.   You need to go heft them like Michael suggests.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2010, 10:13:07 AM »

I'm going to sound awful with this but I have to ask the question anyway. Are we not leaving at least one full super on the hive?
Now my experience is dated having gotten out of keeping in '87 but back then I considered the core of the hive to be the two deep brood boxes and the one shallow super directly above to be the sole property of the bees. This worked fine for winters just to the west of Birmingham, AL. Neither I nor my mentor neighbor (or any other beeks in the area) fed the bees through winter. Maybe that only applies in mild winter locales but it worked for me.
The first super of the season was never harvested so that the bees got first dibs on the honey for the year. It was only the surplus after the first that was mine. Swarms and late splits that did not have their own super would get a super from another hive.
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Acebird
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2010, 11:22:26 AM »

I'm going to sound awful with this but I have to ask the question anyway. Are we not leaving at least one full super on the hive?
Now my experience is dated having gotten out of keeping in '87 but back then I considered the core of the hive to be the two deep brood boxes and the one shallow super directly above to be the sole property of the bees. This worked fine for winters just to the west of Birmingham, AL. Neither I nor my mentor neighbor (or any other beeks in the area) fed the bees through winter. Maybe that only applies in mild winter locales but it worked for me.
The first super of the season was never harvested so that the bees got first dibs on the honey for the year. It was only the surplus after the first that was mine. Swarms and late splits that did not have their own super would get a super from another hive.

Whoops! embarassed
I hope that is not the case because we were told (local bee club) the two supers on top were ours and the two deeps was theirs.  The feeding is necessary if you try to get away with one deep for the winter but that is not common for up here.
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2010, 03:31:54 PM »

I try to leave my bees between 60-80 lbs of honey for winter taking very little from August on.  since I use all mediums on my Langs that usually means 2-4 boxes for brood/honey plus "at least" one honey medium depending on colony size. 

Once the dandelions come on strong in the Spring I'll start taking my honey.

To judge the weight, move something of equal weight desired.

thomas
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