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Author Topic: Feeding  (Read 445 times)
Spear
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« on: August 28, 2013, 03:20:22 PM »

If my bees are bees are still bringing in pollin do I need to feed them anyway to help build up for winter?
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T Beek
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 04:14:30 PM »

Pollen alone will not sustain them.  They also need nectar to produce capped honey before winter sets in.  If no nectar is available you must feed...and feed...and feed....if you expect them to survive the winter. 

My bees in Northern Wisconsin need 100 pounds of honey, meaning my hives should weigh between 150-200 pounds by first frost (mid-late September).  If they are not up to that weight I'll dump 5-10 pounds of dry sugar on top of inner cover with another empty (but insulated) box over it.  By Spring, if they need it they got it, if they don't they won't take it and are able to wait for the dandelion flow.  Hoo-Ray!

Dry sugar is simply insurance...and any left over can still be used to make syrup if needed. 

In my own experience, if they are able to fly, meaning temps allow them to, they will tend to ignore dry sugar.  In that case your options include "inside" feeding or "open" feeding but feed you must or your bees will starve.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 07:49:23 AM »

If they weigh enough, you don't need to feed at all.  If they are light, there still might be a fall flow, but it's probably time to pay close attention to the direction the hive is taking and if the fall flow is happening or failing.  If it happens, they should get some weight and some new bees from the flow.  If the fall flow fails, you may (or may not) need to feed enough to get them up to winter weight.  If there is a nectar dearth in the fall you may need to feed some pollen.  Usually, though, the fall flow does not fail completely...

Assuming they have drawn comb you can get them up to weight pretty quickly with 2:1 (or 5:3) syrup and a few warm days.  Dry sugar is another option.  I usually do dry sugar anymore.
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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
sc-bee
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 08:23:50 AM »

[quote author=Michael Bush link=topic=42495.msg364112#msg364112 date=1377776963

Assuming they have drawn comb you can get them up to weight pretty quickly with 2:1 (or 5:3) syrup and a few warm days.  Dry sugar is another option.  I usually do dry sugar anymore.

[/quote]

I've really never tried dry sugar. Seems it would be much more convenient and less hassle. I already see the pro, what is the pitfall? Will it work here in the deep south were we may not hive the same amount of winter moisture build up inside a hive (I'm thinking colder climates and temps outside create more moisture inside due to hive heat etc?) Is it really more for emergency feeding or can it be used for build up reliably?

Should it work for me know? How do you add to hive, on top of newpaper under cover or do you have some kind of trays. I really like the idea of not handling the syrup if I don't have to.

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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2013, 10:47:58 AM »

There are several methods to add dry sugar.  Some dump it on the bottom board. Some just fill empty comb frames with it and place them in the hives (you can do that with syrup too).

Personally I add an empty "insulated" super (I build my own from Deeps, they act as a feeder as well as a summer vent box and winter cover) over the inner cover, dampen a paper towel placed over the inner cover hole and dump 5-10 lbs of sugar inside depending on colony strength.  An added benefit is that the dry sugar also absorbs moisture/condensation and adds further insulation above.

Being in SC I suppose much would depend on whether temps ever prevent flying for any period during winter.  If it does, then I'd provide some.  However if it is rare to even get into the 30's I'd stick with warmed syrup as needed.  My bees fly during winter with snow on the ground whenever its sunny, calm and temps in the 30's.

All Beekeeping Is Local.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 11:39:55 AM »

>I've really never tried dry sugar. Seems it would be much more convenient and less hassle. I already see the pro, what is the pitfall?

The colony does not respond in the same way to dry sugar as to syrup.  Syrup is likely to stimulate some brood rearing.  Dry sugar is not.  Syrup is put away and stored and then capped.  Dry sugar is usually not touched much until the cluster has contacted it and then it's used more like emergency rations than stores.  How good or bad this is depends on your situation.  If they already raised a fall crop of "fat" bees then it's better NOT to stimulate them too much so you avoid too many bees going into winter.  If the fall flow failed, and you give dry sugar, you may fail to get those "fat" bees.

> Will it work here in the deep south were we may not hive the same amount of winter moisture build up inside a hive (I'm thinking colder climates and temps outside create more moisture inside due to hive heat etc?) Is it really more for emergency feeding or can it be used for build up reliably?

In the spring when they want to build up, it will get burned in the process, but it doesn't tend to stimulate them to, it just facilitates build up without starving.  How they will respond is probably pretty dependent on location and climate and I've never done it in your climate.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslocality.htm

>Should it work for me know? How do you add to hive, on top of newpaper under cover or do you have some kind of trays.

See link above for pictures.  I put the newspaper right on the top bars, some sugar, a little spritz of water to make it clump, some more sugar, a little spritz of water to clump and an extra spritz at the front edge to get them to recognize it as food and not trash.

> I really like the idea of not handling the syrup if I don't have to.

It really is a  LOT easier.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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