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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    I know that it is widely accepted that late winter or early spring feeding of thin syrup stimulates brood rearing, and that many keepers use this technique to try to maximize the number of bees available for the "flow."

    I know of a few beekeepers that believe that this idea is a myth; that it does not stimulate brood rearing. My question is this: is this idea or technique of stimulating brood rearing one that has been proven with real research, or is it just a generally accepted fact? Does anyone know?

    Thanks,
    Rob Koss

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    In the 6 yrs I've keept bees I lost most of the colonies till I finally gave in and realized to feed, feed, feed. Feeding can make up for some newbie mistakes. Plus, my first idea was feeding wasn't natural for bee colonies. Now my conclusion is, a high rate of colony survival isn't naturall for most insects. Their high numbers allow for sending off lots of colonies and when some here and there make it thats OK. Plus its not natural for them to get robbed every year by hungry beekeepers. What works for you works, but I find feeding alot gets me more honey, more surviving colonies, and more drawn comb. I don't feed all year or anything, just very liberally when they could use some. I also don't deliberate to much on whether they need it or not. If it looks like they could use some I'll put it on.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    ikeepbees, in the early spring (Feb here) I feed for brood stimulation, but I combine it with Bee-Pro (Mann Lake) pollen substitute patties. I have no idea if I HAVE to, but the cost is relatively small ($60.00 for 50#, shipping and all) and it works for me. No idea if I could drop the patties ... I figger if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    BubbaBob

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC, USA
    Posts
    71

    Post

    I tend to think that a 1:1 syrup in Feb. is a stimulant to promote egg laying. It makes sense to me, that if the bees believe a "nectar" flow is on, albeit an artificial one, the hive, including the queen, would react to it. The problem I have had is timing. By that I mean building up the hive too soon and having them go into swarm mode. I am leaning towards moderation in any manipulations of my hives.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    athiker, look at it another way.

    If your timing is off, and you stimulate brood production early, then, yes, swarm control does become an issue ... but it is an issue you can control by doing things like regular (weekly) inspections, cutting queen cells, etc.

    If, however, to avoid bad timing and too early brood production you DON'T feed to stimulate, you may end up with an unfixable problem ... no bees, or not enough bees, when flow starts.

    So, the question becomes, "do I feed and perhaps create a fixable problem (swarm control), or do I not feed and perhaps create an un-fixable problem (at least 'till next year)?"

    I'd prefer not to have problems, but if I must have them, I prefer fixable ones.

    BubbaBob

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    Thanks for the info, BubbaBob.

    I don't feed in the late Winter / early Spring for stimulation. If I have colonies that are short on stores I will feed to keep them going. As I've mentioned elsewhere on the forum, I use Walt Wright's nectar management techniques and have very large populations of bees during the flow.

    I'm curious if there is any research to indicate that feeding syrup early in the Spring would result in even larger populations of bees by stimulating brood rearing, or if I'm just being greedy.
    Rob Koss

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC, USA
    Posts
    71

    Post

    BubbaBob, I think we are in agreement for the most part. I am an advocate of feeding early in the spring. I was just saying my timing was off with the nectar flow. Ideally, I'd like the bees emerging with the start of the nectar flow. This year I started feeding in mid-January and it was a cool wet late winter and I had swarm problems. I tried cutting out the queen cells but the bees stayed one up on me [img]smile.gif[/img] Next year I'll delay the first feeding a couple of weeks and see how that goes. I am not big on leaving syrup on them if they have nectar available and there is no comb to be drawn. Circumstances and the bees dictate the need for feeding.
    ikeepbees: here is a link that describes some research on feeding bees. Just do a google search. There were quite a few sources.
    http://www.honeybee.com.au/Library/ca.html

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    >I leave NO honey on the hive.

    Which may work in North Georgia with an experienced beekeeper. They would die here in the North. They can't take feed all winter here. They can only take it when it's above 50 and from November to March that may not be more than a dozen days. Sometimes not even one day for months.

    >If your timing is off, and you stimulate brood production early, then, yes, swarm control does become an issue ...

    But we are still back to timing and reasons for feeding. Feeding at the right time is necessary. Feeding when they are starving is necessary. Feeding them during a flow until the brood nest is clogged and the queen can't find a place to lay doesn't help. Feeding when it's setting off robbing doesn't help. Feeding when it's attracing a lot of ants doesn't help.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    > I leave NO honey on the hive.

    He may have been speaking at the
    "super" level, rather than the frame
    level.

    His brood chambers likely have a
    not insignificant amount of stores
    around the edges, sometimes entire
    frame sides filled with honey on
    frames on either far side of the box.

    I don't know anyone that grabs frames
    out of the brood chamber to extract,
    mostly because one never wants to
    mix brood frames up with honey frames.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    Exactly Jim ... sorry I was not clear on that.

    I use one deep as a "hive" ... everything above that is either a medium or shallow honey super, and I leave none of the honey supers on. The bees winter, build in the spring, and eat through the dearth between wildflower and sourwood (except this year there is no dearth ... wildflower still going and sourwood has started) on what is in the brood chamber and on the HFCS I feed.

    BubbaBob

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    >mostly because one never wants to mix brood frames up with honey frames.

    If you use chemicals, that is an issue.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #32
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Milton, Vermont
    Posts
    307

    Post

    I live in the north where it is cold for most of the year. If we feed too late in the fall the bees don't get a chance to cure the honey before they cluster then it ferments in the hive because the moisture content is too high. It doesn't get warm enough to feed in the spring until mid to late march depending on the year. Sometimes even April. I usually start feeding in April and feed until the first of June as our main flow starts towards the end of June. I feed again in early September to apply Fumigalin for Nosema prevention.
    It is what it is.

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