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Author Topic: Winter feeding  (Read 1792 times)
kilowatts
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« on: January 10, 2006, 08:44:42 PM »

Hi there.  I am a new beekeeper, 1st winter.  My bee inspector told me that the hive was light for winter stores.  So I immediatly started feeding them 1/2 & 1/2 sugar & water.  It gets pretty cold here in Cincinnati.  Every once in a while there is a surprise of a warm day in the 50's.  I see the bees taking there "cleansing" flight.  So I decided to give them more sugar water on these warm days.  They seem to be delighted.  In 2 days a large applesauce jar full of sugar water is gone.  Is this ok?
Second, I have found Tons of dead bees outside the hive entrance.  Not drones, and they were not there in November.  What could have happened?  Should I be worried?  There are Tons of bees still in the hive, I only peaked through the telescoping cover.  They still take the sugar water also.  No I didn't drown them either.  Any suggestions?
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2006, 09:02:42 PM »

is not a good descriptive word when speaking of bees.  rolleyes

How many bees do you see lying on the ground, 20, 30, 40 smiley

Bees die on a regular basis. It's part of bee life, short and brutish. Sad   If there are a number of dead bees lying on the ground around the hive one day, sweep them up if you can and wait for the next day and check again.  If the bees die every day in seemingly large numbers there is something wrong.

However a few bees lying dead around the hive is usually nothing to worry about on one day.

You may be running out of their natural food, honey.  You should, on a warm day open remove the cover and inner cover and pull some frames to actually see what is going on.
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TREBOR
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2006, 11:40:13 PM »

feeding the bees 1:1 syrup in the winter is bad from what I've been told
something about adding to much moisture the the hive.
 if they will still take it try a 2:1 syrup (2sugar/1water)
or you could try a sugar board , I put some on my hives
and they're are all still alive.
   as far as bees dying ,yep they do that, every good (warm) day
I see about ten new ones in the snow. I think thats about normol.
 ten a day can look like alot pretty quick.
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Robo
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2006, 12:44:19 PM »

You would be better to make fondant or a sugar board and put it over the opening in the inner cover.

I have used the recipe here -> http://robo.hydroville.com/html/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=17 for the sugar candy and put it in foil bread pans to cool. Once cool I pop the sugar brick out and put it over the inner cover,  put an empty medium super on, a piece of insulation and the top cover.  I have a couple of hives now, where the cluster has eaten to the middle of the brick.  Easy to monitor and easy to give more when needed.

Also make sure you have upper ventilation if you putting that much moisture into the hive with syrup.
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SignQueen
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2006, 02:49:31 PM »

Hi,
I am a first year (starting second) beekeeper also.
Definately should be feeding 2:1 in the winter, 1:1 encourages laying. If you use a Beemax poly hivetop feeder you don't have to worry about moisture anyway.
My husband freaked out the first time he saw dead bees in the snow.
Both my hives are doing great. Althought they had plenty of honey in the fall I plan on starting to feed again soon. Safer than taking a chance on them starving.
I am the secretary of the local beekeepers association, our school is March 25th, I went last year and learned everything I needed to know to get started.
Our meeting schedule  is on the website... hope to see you there.
Cam Jones (near Cincinnati)
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Robo
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2006, 02:59:22 PM »

Quote from: SignQueen
If you use a Beemax poly hivetop feeder you don't have to worry about moisture anyway.


You may not have to worry about leakage creating moisture, but the bees will bring the syrup down into the hive and you have a moisture issue when they consume it as well.

Unless you consider the fact that the bees won't break cluster in the cold to even go up into the feeder to get it.  Hivetop feeders are useless in the winter.  You need to provide feed right to the cluster.

By feeding syrup in the winter, you stand a good chance of the bees getting dysentary.

Quote from: kilowatts

Every once in a while there is a surprise of a warm day in the 50's. I see the bees taking there "cleansing" flight.

Are these cleansing flight a yellow/gold color? That would be good.  If they are a dark brown and all over the front of the hive, that is not good.
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Finsky
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2006, 03:32:26 PM »

Hey all!

Do not feed them vainly. Bees do like it. You can weight by hand if hive is light. If it is heavy, there is no sence to disturb them.  They do not starve if they have food.

You can take inner cover away and look if there is capped food. If you see it on corners and in upper parts, there is no feeding time.

And if food is not capped it take moisture from air and it will be fermented. Bees become sick for that.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2006, 06:12:48 AM »

Quote from: SignQueen
Hi,
I am a first year (starting second) beekeeper also.
Definately should be feeding 2:1 in the winter, 1:1 encourages laying. If you use a Beemax poly hivetop feeder you don't have to worry about moisture anyway.
My husband freaked out the first time he saw dead bees in the snow.
Both my hives are doing great. Althought they had plenty of honey in the fall I plan on starting to feed again soon. Safer than taking a chance on them starving.
I am the secretary of the local beekeepers association, our school is March 25th, I went last year and learned everything I needed to know to get started.
Our meeting schedule  is on the website... hope to see you there.
Cam Jones (near Cincinnati)


Do  bees  get  fed in  the  wild smiley   Or, feral colonies smiley
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Robo
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2006, 07:14:52 AM »

Quote from: Jack Parr


Do  bees  get  fed in  the  wild smiley   Or, feral colonies smiley
No, but they don't get their honey robbed by humans either.   That is also probably one of the reason only 20% of new swarms make it thru the first winter.
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ian michael davison
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2006, 11:27:17 AM »

Hi all
Kilowatts: Never feed bees large quantities of syrup in the winter the bees take down more than they can consume and it can ferment. If the bee inspector told you they where only light you should consider using candy.

The candy is best placed over the top of the cluster(you may need to add a empty super) or can be placed on the top cover over a feed hole if the cluster is underneath. Candy is by far the best winter feed as the bees only seem to convert as much as they require, none is stored so fermenting and dysentry is not an issue. The weather conditions you discribe sound ideal as they do require a little water to help them convert the candy. Most of this can be found within the hive but should they require more they can get this on the slightly warmer days you mention.

Even when feeding in late winter or early spring for stimulation never place a contact type feeder directly above the cluster. wide changes in temperature mean the vacuum in the feeder can be lost and the cluster beneath drenched.

Hope this has helped.
Regards Ian
PS. Hi Finman.
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