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Author Topic: Sugar as bee food, dry or syrup  (Read 3417 times)
tjc1
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« on: November 22, 2012, 12:46:36 PM »

How do bees use sugar - dry or as syrup - as food? Can they feed on it directly, or must it always be turned into honey first (via the ripening process, enzymes etc.)? We are in a 50-60 degree warm spell for about 5 days, so I thought I'd put some syrup out as open feed, thinking that they are using up a lot of stores flying around in November, and I also am curious about how dry sugar feeding (mountain camp method, fondant, etc.) works for them.
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Finski
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2012, 01:05:20 PM »

.
Look at nature. Do you see there any flowers?  Bees' system is that go over winter without pastures.

In my country,when we feed hives in September, we never, never feed them before March, and if we feed, we first look, do they have enough food to go towards warmer times.


Winter has not even come and you are worried that winter stores is finnish?

The idea in wintering is that let the bees stay in peace. Don't go tp knock hives and ask "weiky weiky are you alive".  if they are dead they are dead.

Feeding and weiking them up only disturb wintering. If bees come out, they clean themselves and return to hives. It is not sign that you start to feed them. Some bees come outeven -20C, because they are sick and they comeoutto die.

Feeding may start brooding and that is worst what you can imagine.

Learn to weight with hand is the hive heavy or light of food.

If you think that it is light, you may take off the cover and look do you see capped food.
That I do in March but not before that.

Hive consumes in my country 1 kg food in a month. In spring consumption is several kilos.

Time has gone 2,5 months when I fed the hives. Stores cannot be finnish.

As long as hives have stores, don't feed them

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tjc1
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2012, 06:15:38 PM »

Thanks, Finski - as a new beekeeper I tend to worry that I have not made sure that they are ready for winter - I read posts about hives starving in the fall from warm weather and using up their stores and I get nervous... It is helpful to hear from you that I should leave the bees alone and stop worrying!

I am still curious though, just in terms of understanding the biology, how do the bees use dry sugar - I assume that syrup gets stored and evaporated like honey, but can they just eat dry sugar?

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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2012, 06:36:26 PM »

There are legitimate reasons to worry about your hive running out of stores and starving.  We don’t all have the years of experience Finski has and we tend to make mistakes.  You make less mistakes the longer you do this, but hives can still starve out due to things like robbing.

If you’re losing sleep over it, lift up one side of your hive to feel how heavy it is.  It’s pretty easy to tell a hive that is running low of food vs one that is packed with honey.  The one packed is a back breaker!  It needs no food.  However a light one could be in trouble during an extended cold spell.

As for the biology of consuming dry sugar; I have no idea, but I assume the bees bring in water from outside to dilute the sugar so it can be sucked.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2012, 07:56:07 PM »

 Condense some is absorbed  by dry sugar


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2012, 08:23:04 PM »

.
Look at nature. Do you see there any flowers?  Bees' system is that go over winter without pastures.

In my country,when we feed hives in September, we never, never feed them before March, and if we feed, we first look, do they have enough food to go towards warmer times.


Winter has not even come and you are worried that winter stores is Finnish?

The idea in wintering is that let the bees stay in peace. Don't go tp knock hives and ask "weiky weiky are you alive".  if they are dead they are dead.

Feeding and weiking them up only disturb wintering. If bees come out, they clean themselves and return to hives. It is not sign that you start to feed them. Some bees come outeven -20C, because they are sick and they comeoutto die.

Feeding may start brooding and that is worst what you can imagine.

Learn to weight with hand is the hive heavy or light of food.

If you think that it is light, you may take off the cover and look do you see capped food.
That I do in March but not before that.

Hive consumes in my country 1 kg food in a month. In spring consumption is several kilos.

Time has gone 2,5 months when I fed the hives. Stores cannot be finnish.

As long as hives have stores, don't feed them

.

 

Finski you the man i allways listen when you type dos not mean i do what you say but i listen this one i'm with you i wait till MARCH till think about feeding dry sugar.
I'd listen  to any beekeeper that had 50 plus years .
Good work FINSKI
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Finski
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2012, 01:24:35 AM »

.
I have about 30 hives. My 20 kg sugar per hive last to the periodwhen willow start to bloom in May.

After cleansing flight I move capped frames from too full hives to empty hives.
My bees live 9 months with sugar.  they live 6 months that I donot even look at them.

The reason is

1) locally adapted bee strains which are in winter sleep and not active all the time.
2) tight wintering space and insulation

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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2012, 04:20:36 AM »

Yesterday, we probably had our last warm spell for the winter and the bees were out in force.  It’s supposed to snow today. Sad  My hives are generally packed to the gills with stores at this point, and I normally listen to Finski when it comes to feeding, but this time I decided to listen to T Beek for a change. applause  I decided to open feed the girls. Wink 



My concern was with so many bees out flying.  If they didn’t find some easy pickings, they’re probably going to start robbing my mating nucs.  I made some last minute design changes to a few hives/nucs this week and had some extra comb I let them rob.  They were busy all day robbing.  They got their bellies full and had a happy Thanksgiving.  A beer and football and they would be all set. Smiley
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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2012, 04:55:32 AM »

.
In pictures you have some hundred bees.

That feeding has no effect  to hives. Not good or bad.

My idea in September is to feed bees in a minimum  time that they do not start brood rearing.
They start often from zero laying and make 2 frames of brood.
Whenfeeding stops, they stop laying too

continuous feeding encourage laying and larva feeding and that is bad thing.

Bad is that emerged bees cannot come out and make poo before winter cluster.
Those bees which feeded larvae, will die from cluster.

There is no idea offer any food before winter.

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Finski
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2012, 06:02:28 AM »

.
Before cleansing flight bees  cannot be fed because bees start to come out they thousands will die on snow.

After cleansing flight you may give syrup when pouring it directly combs. Then you may put a box of filled combs under the wintering box and bees move foor to their "nests". They have allready some brood there.  Late evening is good timing. When bees become upset but they will not come out into darknes.

Extracted wet honey combs are good too if you spray some water on them.
Plus crystallized hone combs if you have such.

It is better to give 5 kg sugar at same time.
It makes 3 filled  langstroth combs.

You may try first with feeding box and it is tidy way.
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Finski
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2012, 06:44:41 AM »

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DON'T WAKE TOO EARLY BEES

A colony starts very early brood rearing. It stops rearing when the pollen store is finnish. Bees may take some nutrients from their body and that makes bees shortliving.

Let the bees stay in peace up to time when nature start to give pollen.

Bees need pollen so that one frame brood needs one frame of pollen. When bees emerge, they eate pollen tree days that they are well feeded. Their fatbody developes and they become ready feeders.

If they do not get pollen after emerging, they do not develope to feeders.

So, the hive  have a limited pollen store. Don't waste it before nature is ready to give pollen to new emerged bees. Of course, if you have high quality protein substitute, you may feed them. but don't bee too greedy and start too early. You get no advantage from it. Your just kill wintered bees too early. They are needed to generate heat to brood when spring arrives.

Old farts and uyopur revolutioners have all kings of tricks to early feedings, but it has no university level research on backroud. USA was the first to reseach the protein patty feeding alternatives in the year 1977 in two different laboratories and nothing have shanged those results.
yes, 35 years. De Groot researched the food needed to make normal brood and that was published 1954. So long we have know the truth but who cares.


Let's invent a wheel again, and again?

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BlueBee
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2012, 01:59:28 PM »

As usual, you are right Finski.  My “open feeding” wasn’t really adding much feed to the hives.  There was only a few pounds/kgs of honey comb and sugar in my photo and I have 10 colonies in this location.  However I felt it provided the bees something to do instead of robbing out my smaller mating nucs.  Even still, I saw some robbing going of the small mating nucs going on.  I will have to give the mating nucs some more honey balls today.



We have a continental climate here in the Midwest of the USA where we are usually under the influence of arctic air from Canada, but every so often warm air will push this far north from the Gulf and Mexico and wake up the bees.   Our bees don’t sleep non stop from fall to spring.  Our bees usually have an opportunity for at least a few cleansing flights over winter.

Finski I normally do follow your feeding advice.  My bees have been packed to the gills with food since October.  Not trying to re-invent the wheel here, I’m just trying to do what I can to prevent robbing of my small mating nucs during a warm day.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2012, 02:06:58 PM »

Tjc1.  I have never tried feeding the bees dry sugar inside the hive.  Many people claim to do it successfully.  If you take a look at my photo from Thanksgiving day (above), I have dry sugar spread around (to soak up some honey) and goobs of comb/honey around.  The bees completely ignored the dry sugar.  I don’t know how they could utilize it unless it gets wet somehow.  As Jim134 says, there is a lot of moisture inside a hive and maybe that solves the problem, I don’t know.

My honey balls have a putty like consistency which the bees have no problem consuming even though they're mostly beet sugar.  They disappear very quickly.
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Finski
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2012, 02:37:08 PM »

Our bees don’t sleep non stop from fall to spring.  Our bees usually have an opportunity for at least a few cleansing flights over winter.


of course you have. But the winter sleep of bees is a bif physiological stage. Bees live over long period.
But later they may bee  in bad condition.

Let me explain. Austalian researched, could they keep the bee power over the short winter with protein feeding.

Winter is short and temp is about +10C. Then canola is first to bloom and the foraging power is not very good.

They feeded hives and they got a bad nosema. Feeded hives were in worse conditon than non feeded.

Think about  glass hive colonies. In my country they live  4-5 months inside  and suddenly colony dies. Outside same size colony lives 9-10 months. Perhaps half of bees die.

What is idea. Bees live as they live. The nature waits its time to wake up. Plants do not open their buttoms during warm spell and shut them in cold spells. Plants know when they continue winter sleep and when it is time to start growing.

Bees have same kind of system. Different races and different strains have ability to stay in winter rest what ever happens. Non adapted act with wrong style and colony suffers for losses. They make brood even if they do not get fresh pollen from nature. They will be soon in bad condition.

And now, if nervour beekeeper try to help bees to enjoy on thanks giving day, christmas evening, new year  and all warm spells which go over, it is sure that bees' genome have not adapted to all festivalls what a beek get into his mind.


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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2012, 02:20:42 AM »

Brother Adam also says to never feed in the winter.

You make some interesting points that nature has a rhythm to life.  Winter is a time for dormancy in many living things.  Do you think the winter bees might expire quicker than normal if they are awake too much during winter?

Brother Adam also thought the bees needed cold and sleep through winter to be healthy in the spring.  However he did NOT believe in insulation!  He did experiment with super insulated hives years ago in Britain and they were a disaster according to his book.  He says every single one of his super insulated hives failed to build up in the spring!  I think this was back in the 1920s and he used double walled hives packed with 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20cm) of insulation between the walls.  They experimented with 168 hives.

Brother Adam found that hives with just 1/2” thick wood (10mm) hives were more than adequate for his bees!
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Finski
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2012, 02:48:24 AM »

Brother Adam also says to never feed in the winter.


Brother Adam lived in southern peninsula of England where bees get pollen in January. Adam knew nothing about winter.
He seldom saw even snow.
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« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2012, 02:56:24 AM »

However he did NOT believe in insulation!  


Insulation is not a believing issue

Quote
He did experiment with super insulated hives years ago in Britain and they were a disaster according to his book.


No one is perfect. Insulated super have such advantage that hive is warmer and honey does not crystallize so easily as in colder hive.

Now professionals use thouseands of insulated super because polyboxes have good insulation.

 
Quote
He says every single one of his super insulated hives failed to build up in the spring!  


He must have a bad medication


Quote
I think this was back in the 1920s and he used double walled hives packed with 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20cm) of insulation between the walls.  They experimented with 168 hives.


Our polyhive seller Paradise Honey has 3000 hives. Another seller have 1100 hives. Brother Adam is an amateur compared to these guys.


Paradise Honey extraction system 

120 Frame Honey Extracting Line
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« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2012, 03:06:26 AM »

.
in that youtube 10 frames in one minute. Each frame has 2,5 kg honey. 25 kg honey in a minute.  = 1500 kg in a hour.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2012, 04:57:42 AM »

 stay on topic I do understand what  extraction has to do with feeding "Sugar as bee food, dry or syrup"




                      BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2012, 08:10:41 AM »

stay on topic I do understand what  extraction has to do with feeding


                    

Try, try

These guys here on forum, try to make scietific revolution in hive wintering in insulating, feeding and what ever. They teach me. 

We have here professjonal level systems how to keep hives and extract honey and how to feed.

What extraction has to do with feeding?

You take winter food off from hive and give sugar instead. To take honey away from combs is called extraction.
With honey money you may buy sugar.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2012, 09:17:15 AM »

All the professional  beekeeper's (500 hives and up) that I now In this part of the USA that stay home leave honey on for wintering only Feed  if the honey store are to small where I live the hive need about 35K of honey to make the winter.Taking all the honey off and give feed back sugar is not cost effectual in the USA.
 




                BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 09:51:50 AM by Jim 134 » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2012, 10:33:39 AM »

There are 2 large commercial guys around me (400+ hives) that do things completely opposite with regards to feeding.  Imagine that, bee keepers disagreeing how to winter bees. Smiley

Anyhow, the one guy swears by using candy boards to get your hives through winter.  He puts the Candy boards on in January or February.   I believe he typically winters in double deeps.  

The other beek has a different philosophy; he keeps bees in the standard double deep configuration during the summer but extracts the top deep at the end of the season and winters in just a single deep box.  So he takes most of the bees honey and sells it.  In a mild winter a descent number of his hives survive and he makes up for the losses with splits.  In bad winters, most of his hives die so he drives to Georgia in the spring and buys a boat load of new bees.

I'm just a hobby beek myself with a few 10s of hives and generally follow the advice of people on here who also winter in insulated hives (Finski, Edward, Robo).  I do most of my wintering in single boxes and rarely feed after October.  The exception to that general rule is if I see a hive getting really light on stores.  Then you have to do something or they will die.
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« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2012, 10:43:02 AM »

... a few snips

The other beek has a different philosophy; he keeps bees in the standard double deep configuration during the summer but extracts the top deep at the end of the season and winters in just a single deep box.  So he takes most of the bees honey and sells it.  In bad winters, most of his hives die so he drives to Georgia in the spring and buys a boat load of new bees.


Just thinking that without the cost of the candyboards and the extra deep of honey to sell, he probably comes out ahead even if all his hives die?Huh
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« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2012, 10:50:43 AM »

Exactly, that why he's making a living off bees and I'm not!   grin

Actually both of these commercial guys APPEAR to be doing a good business. You never really know for sure.  I'm sure there are pros and cons to each approach.  While the later beek has lower equipment costs and lower labor costs, his bees may start off spring in a weaker condition than the first guy.  It's gotta to be real tough to make a living off bees though. Sad 
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« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2012, 10:56:44 AM »

 Imagine that, bee keepers disagreeing how to winter bees. Smiley


USA is the only country in the world which collects its hives on the fields of south. Hives have no winter rest and that is why hives have special proplem: Disapearing.

Then no one knows that Alaska have too bees. Hives are too expencive to send to California. That is why they kill their bees and then they bye new colonioes wit Hawaian queens.

Lets look California weather. Is it time to send bees to enjoy winter there:

Yes. Seems good. It is time 6:30 morning there anp tem is 15.3C. It is promised 28C the highest temp. Yes, sounds warm spell.

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« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2012, 10:57:33 AM »

.
And what are the losses of small beekeepers in USA.
Those Natinal guys have 40% average losses. Are they teaching in this forum how to over winter hives?



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« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2012, 11:03:16 AM »

.
Beekeepers have different opinion about wintering hives. Thank's to heaven for that!

In Alaska

Why nobody write about bees there?

what are temps in Anchorage

Celsius:

Today
-8°

-12°

Sun
-7°

-13°

Mon
-6°

-11°

Tues
-5°

-12°
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« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2012, 11:16:10 AM »

I'm at 0C right now....and I'm talking about bees   grin

T Beek is probably -8C or colder

Minneapolis Minnesota is -8C right now (mid day).

We don't need to go to Alaska to find cold here  Smiley

Finski you make a good point that all the moving around of bees we do here might be having a detrimental affect on them.
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Finski
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« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2012, 11:28:26 AM »


We don't need to go to Alaska to find cold here  Smiley



That is not the point.  You offer the solutions which are good all over the vast country, from Alaska to Florida.

"Me America, - me no varroa."  That is your attitude and it does not come better.

But beeks  love humpug. When some with 2 years experience offer something stupid, you must at once go and start to tease your bees.

Bees stand many kind of beekeepers but it seems that in USA their tolerance has been went over.


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« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2012, 11:50:01 AM »

If we all had to winter our bees in the frigid north all our USA bees might die. Sad

Hey Finski, at least I haven’t tried a long hive yet.  Smiley
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Finski
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« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2012, 12:26:46 PM »

If we all had to winter our bees in the frigid north all our USA bees might die. Sad

Hey Finski, at least I haven’t tried a long hive yet.  Smiley



And 20 other "hive types"...

This was the most popular hive in Finland 50 y ago and now they are zero

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« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2012, 06:22:41 PM »

If we all had to winter our bees in the frigid north all our USA bees might die. Sad

Hey Finski, at least I haven’t tried a long hive yet.  Smiley


But you are getting close to a long hive with that 12 frame one. Next year it will be a 14 then a 16 maybe put two together= 32. grin
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« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2012, 12:43:43 AM »

.
This "long hive" is from Denmark.
It is perhaps 70 y old

We called them "turn around hive"

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« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2012, 05:50:56 PM »

Hey, I like the looks of that hive!  Love the colors too Smiley

Add a little polystyrene in there and it would be good to go for the 21st century.
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« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2012, 06:01:08 PM »

Hey, I like the looks of that hive!  Love the colors too Smiley

Add a little polystyrene in there and it would be good to go for the 21st century.

There should be saw dust .

But where you put that little polystyrene?
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« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2012, 06:06:14 PM »

Oh, so you're saying that is a double walled hive and they used to put sawdust between the walls?  That is interesting.  I just figured it was a single layer of wood.  In that case I would probably replace the sawdust with cellulose insulation.  

I’ve got an old house in town with about 2000 sq feet of old 4” (exposure) pine clapboard siding that need to be pulled off and replaced next spring.  I was wondering what the heck to do with all those old boards but now Finski has given me an idea... Smiley  

I wonder how many of these long hives I could make out of 2000 sq feet (185 square meter) of lumber?  I’ll probably need at least 4 for my over wintered mating nucs.
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« Reply #36 on: November 25, 2012, 09:43:53 PM »


[/quote]

And now, if nervous beekeeper try to help bees to enjoy on thanks giving day, christmas evening, new year  and all warm spells which go over, it is sure that bees' genome have not adapted to all festivalls what a beek get into his mind.

[/quote]

That's funny, I don't care who you are!! lau

I'll never forget that one, Finski! A good lesson to this 'nervous beekeeper'!

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2012, 11:49:05 AM »

Dry sugar on top works just like a candy board except you don't have to make the candy.  The bees only eat it if they are hungry and it contact with it.  They generally do not convert it to honey.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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