Hey all. Has anyone else noticed that open feeding at this time of year gets the girls a little wild and testy? I have been putting out a gallon bowl of dilluted honey from harvest cleanup. Since I started doing that, they are just flying all over the yard, paying way too much attention to me, and wifey got stung today while minding her own business.
Doesn't look like a robbing problem, just that they are kind of wild and rambunctious. There are quite a few yellowjackets taking advantage of my liberal welfare system though.
How far is your feeding station? I keep mine 300 feet away and they have to go over trees. I have no problem setting it up this way and do feed over 18 hives.
We had a feeding frenzy when we put out extracted frames and the solar wax melter not too long ago. They were all over the yard and it is at least a half acre. Also, when we feed again we will feed either each and every hive or put a communal feeder out somewhere.
This time of year the colonies are more defensive because there is not much forage if any and because of that fact they are probing each others hives for openings to rob.
The added activity of open feeding and bringing back diluted "honey" adds to the defensive behavior.
I open feed this time of year as well, but feed 300 feet plus from the hives. I also feed each hive with feeder jars inside.
The stronger hives can take advantage of the open feeding, while the weaker ones use the internal.
The open feeding / "forage", as I use syrup gives the stronger hives something to do as well.
[This message has been edited by MountainCamp (edited October 25, 2004).]
I do the same thing as MountainCamp: I have a weak hive that I have a Miller hivetop feeder on, so to distract the other hives from robbing, I field feed using entrance feeders that I just sit on top of tree stumps in my vegetable garden which is only about 30' away from the hives. Things around the entrance feeders get pretty frenzied, and everybody's there--wasps and yellowjackets included--but I have no trouble refilling the jars and I don't get "bothered" when I'm working in the garden. Guess I'm just lucky.
I put my extractor, strainer, and some other honey coated items out in the back of my back yard (about 100 feet from the hives). They went into an absolute frenzy. They weren't aggressive at all, but with so many bees flying, it's hard not to run into some. There was some fighting and a few dead bees lying around the extractor. Next time, I'll try 100 yards instead of 100 feet and see if that makes a difference.
They do certainly get every drop. It saves a lot of clean up time.