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Author Topic: Spring Feeding  (Read 1571 times)
Bush_84
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« on: March 04, 2014, 09:01:59 PM »

I know that this isn't the first topic on the subject, but I wanted to make my own.   tongue

http://naturesnectar.blogspot.com

That's the blog of one of the larger bee supply companies in minnesota.  It's nice that he keeps a blog as it gives me some info on timing.  Our weather is predicted to start warming a bit.  They are advocating getting the patties on and syrup if needed.  What's left of my production hives are a bit light.  I've got some pollen patties and sugar syrup in jars setup for my next day off.  Here's what the weather looks like up here.

http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/breezy-point-mn/56472/march-weather/2247904

So on Friday I plan on putting the patties on and inverted jars just on the edge of the cluster.  I think my nucs are going to be ok but I'd like my production hives to get some feed.  Anybody think that website is giving bad advice?  If not I'm going to do it!
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 11:49:58 PM »

 Sugar water will end up freezing and do the bees no good if they are light and need food.
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T Beek
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 05:32:45 AM »

Sugar water will end up freezing and do the bees no good if they are light and need food.

AGREED; Syrup won't be consumed until overnight temps stop going below freezing (they'll eat dry sugar though if low on stores).  However, many Beeks, including myself go through the annual process of 'warming' syrup and replacing it daily, especially RIGHT NOW... Smiley
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Bush_84
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 07:33:40 AM »

When temps get above freezing during the day, do you think it'd thaw above the cluster?  Also anything wrong with using a frame feeder and jar?  Last question, I made 2-1 as I'd like just to keep some sugar to them not stimulate.  If I can load them up on some 2-1 do I need to feed daily or just a certain amount per week? 
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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 09:12:13 AM »

They won't touch it unless its in the fifties…the syrup that is.  So if overnight temps are in the single digits or below…like yours ..and mine.. Wink the chances of it warming up to be attractive is unlikely IMO.

However; Temps can be below freezing and your bees will consume 'warmed' syrup.   Remember;  once started, such feeding should not stop until the first blooms appear.  Personally, I'd stick with dry sugar for a bit longer yet….it will keep a colony short on stores alive until conditions improve.
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Bush_84
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 06:26:09 PM »

Thoughts on adding pollen patties?  They all have a bunch of dry sugar above the cluster in the form of a 10 lb bag.  Last I checked they were munching away.  Is it a bad idea to add the pollen patties before I can start feeding syrup or should they be ok with the dry sugar.
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alfred
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 06:45:18 PM »

Mine have been taking pollen like crazy the last two weeks. I put syrup on yesterday as well and hey seem to be taking that.
Alfred
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T Beek
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 06:38:09 AM »

Generally….I don't feed pollen until a few weeks, maybe a month before 'natural pollen' is available.  Feeding pollen can really get a colony going….sometimes BEFORE weather is right. 

Imagine a Spring colony with a healthy productive queen, now 'fooled' into believing its time to ramp things up because 'artificial' pollen is being brought in, so eggs are widely scattered throughout, bees are busy……then a 'cold snap' hits and all the work goes to nothing as bees and larva freeze……..something to ponder.

In N/W Wisconsin, We're still about a month away from the 'first' bloom of willows…so I'll be supplying my bees with some pollen, added to their dry sugar over the next week or so.
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cinch123
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 06:51:04 AM »

Remember;  once started, such feeding should not stop until the first blooms appear.  Personally, I'd stick with dry sugar for a bit longer yet….it will keep a colony short on stores alive until conditions improve.

Are you saying that once you start feeding warmed syrup, they will ignore any dry sugar that's above the cluster?
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T Beek
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 06:55:50 AM »

That's been my experience.  Once syrup feeding is started its hard to convince them to go back to dry sugar….they may even begin removing it from the hive.
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Bush_84
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2014, 12:19:26 PM »

So I had three more hives die.  I had dry sugar and heat on all of these hives.  So today I put a pollen patty and two jars of warmed sugar syrup on my remaining production hive and nuc.  These jars have 2-1 in it.  Hopefully they chug down as much as they possibly can.  I'll check them tomorrow and Sunday.  I can't check them daily due to working 12 hour shifts but will add new warmed syrup as frequently as I can.  I hope I can keep these two going until spring! 


....I hate winter.
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T Beek
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2014, 02:25:10 PM »

Be sure to conduct 'thorough' inspections on each.  Estimate number of bees, try to find queen, any larva, signs of disease, too much or too little ventilation, too few stores. 

Not to start an argument but personally, I'm not convinced that providing artificial heat is that helpful especially in Northern regions, as I feel it makes bees too active when they should be in cluster instead, consuming too much honey, possibly giving them a false sense of security  I dunno  I'm just not convinced….

We can learn a lot just by methodically examining dead outs.   
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Bush_84
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2014, 03:31:34 PM »

My first dead hive died early on in December.  I just think they didn't have the mass to keep warm enough during our cold December.  My second dead hive starved.  The other three were the latest discovery.  I am pretty sure my nuc that died did so because of low mass or bees and starvation despite dry sugar.  The two other two production hives are a mystery yet.  I haven't had time to dive in.  I wonder if they didn't starve despite dry sugar overhead.  I'll have to check and report back.
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2014, 03:54:32 PM »

Even dry sugar won't save a staving colony that can't break cluster long enough to find it when its too cold to move... Sad
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2014, 05:36:23 PM »

I agree on the point of stimulation with heat. Active bees consume more honey. In years past if we had early warmth and it got cold again, starvation would quickly become a problem. If too much early brood rearing goes on,they won't leave the brood for food store.
 Heat can be a two edged sword.
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T Beek
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2014, 06:42:06 PM »

I agree on the point of stimulation with heat. Active bees consume more honey. In years past if we had early warmth and it got cold again, starvation would quickly become a problem. If too much early brood rearing goes on,they won't leave the brood for food store.
 Heat can be a two edged sword.


Yes - that has been my experience as well.
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Bush_84
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2014, 03:02:14 AM »

I had brood rearing back in January without the heat.  I suspect my two remaining hives have been doing the same. 
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T Beek
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2014, 04:55:58 AM »

I had brood rearing back in January without the heat.  I suspect my two remaining hives have been doing the same. 

That's not uncommon.  Bees tend to ramp up as days get longer - - AND when temps get warmer, but not necessarily at the same time  Smiley.  A good queen doesn't really stop laying so much as she just slows down as days get shorter and temps drop.  Its with artificially heated hives that brood rearing can become problematic because bees are fooled into believing its warmer than it really is, or that winter isn;t going to be as long or severe as it will be IMO.

Just an opinion on artificial heat…..goes back quite a ways in the BM archives…. Wink
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BlueBee
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2014, 12:07:36 PM »

Where’s our chief electric beek (CEB) when we need him, Mr Finski  Smiley  Finski we miss you!

Having done a good bit of experimenting and observing with electric heat, I don’t agree with everything here, but if you’re worried about stimulating the bees into thinking it’s not winter, then does adding syrup make any sense?  What does syrup normally mean in nature?  The trees are blooming and its spring!  Time to go out and multiply.  Smiley 

If the bees over brood and we get another cold snap (very likely), what’s more likely to protect all that brood from getting chilled?  Syrup or heat?

What I’m surprised to hear is that some of Bush’s heated hives didn’t make it.  I’ve never had a heated hive die so I would be curious to hear the story behind his losses?
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2014, 02:44:15 PM »

Finski did not overwinter with heat.He used it in spring for early builds up as this bee season was only three months long.He also didn't heat all of his hives,only the ones that needed an early boost.
No hocus pocus😂
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