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  1. #1

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    My 13 year old budding beekeeper (wants to be the youngest Master Beekeeper in VA)had an interesting question that I couldn't answer but will give it a try. We were feeding 2:1 syrup to our bees and he asked if it would be faster for the bees and maybe easier if we were to build a container for the syrup and dip empty combs into the syrup to fill the cells then replace it in the hive. Would the bees cure and cap this and use it for winter stores? I know it wouldn't exactly be honey, but I would think it would work for winter feeding. What are the thoughts of the experts? Would it save trouble for the bees, or would they still take it out of the cells, digest and regurgitate it, and replace it in the cells? Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Nope. Not dumb at all.

    Eagerly awaiting an answer also.
    JohnF INTP

  3. #3
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    They will reduce it down to about 6:1, leaving much empty space, which is the bee's worst enemy in the winter. Bees need to have as little empty space as possible during cold weather.

    By the way, I have a copyright on stupid questions, stupid comments, and stupid acts. If you ever find a stupid question, which this one didn't qualify, it is mine. Send it to me and I will ask it.

    [size="1"][ October 20, 2006, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: iddee ][/size]

  4. #4
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    The problem with dipping to fill the combs is the surface tension of the syrup combined with the air in the cells. It doesn't fill very well.

    On the other hand, if you use a spray bottle and spray it in, it goes in much better. If you even use some kind of "sprinkler" that like a watering can with a sprinkler head, you can shake it into the cells. This works fine.

    On the other hand, taking syrup keeps them busy when they would otherwise be robbing and fighting.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
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    Hi Guys,

    Like Michael mentioned, the same surface tension that keeps the honey from running out, keeps the syrup from going in.

    Syrup can be sprayed or brushed in. But it's very messy and time consuming. I've tried it on a few very unique occasions and decided I'd never do it again for any reason.

    W. Kelley built a machine for commercial beekeepers, that would spray syrup into empty combs. I don't think it was very popular, as I've seen a few of them setting around, but don't know of any that are in use today.

    The best option is to let the bees handle the syrup. They are very efficient at it. They will take only as much as they can handle and put it where they need it.

    Give my best regards to your budding beekeeper. Keep watching those bees and finding ways to cooperate with them.

    Regards
    Dennis

  6. #6

    Post

    Thanks for all the input! It sounds like more work than reward. I especially liked the remark by Mr. Bush about them keeping busy instead of fighting and robbing. I hadn't thought about that aspect of it! Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Walt Wright wrote an article in Bee Culture a while back about a fast/easy way to fill comb with heavy syrup. You might want to check it out.
    Southeast PA - 7 colonies, local mutts on natural comb, TF
    George Imirie's INDEXED Pink Pages: http://goo.gl/WiZUH3

  8. #8

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    The bees DO need open comb to (crawl into headfirst) as they cluster tight, to generate heat efficiently in the winter.

    A good ratio going in to winter with two deeps is 10 frames up top with capped honey and even 2 frames on either side of the brood nest capped. The bottom middle six frames should be open or have brood going into winter--the bees need the room.

    As the bees consume stores they will move about and continue to occupy the empty cells in clustering--staying adjacent to honey.

    A hive CAN get honey bound (I don't think too many of us had that problem this year).

    Some folks use Permacomb as a feeding frame and make a sprinkler out of a coffee can (tapping a hundred or so, evenly spaced, small holes with a nail) to get syrup in the cells over a Rubbermaid tub. Like others have said, it sounds like a mess and a pain to deal with. I think traditional types of top-feeders are better--the bees know where they want it and will get it put away.

    http://www.lazybeestudio.com
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  9. #9

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    Iddee, is that what honey is: about 6:1? Thanks.

  10. #10
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    If my math is correct, 5:1 is 16.66%.
    Honey varies around 17 to 18 %.
    I guess 5:1 would be more acurate than 6:1.

  11. #11

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    Cool, thanks.

  12. #12
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    Here's a simple way that works.

    Pour dry, granulated sugar into an empty comb, then mist spray water over it. Turns to syrup instantly and no mess. Harder to do the other side, though.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  13. #13
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    Oct 2004
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    Hi Buckbee,

    I was thinking more of a high tech, nuclear powered, computer controlled, syrup injector. ;&gt

    But what you were thinking about is really neat!

    Regards
    Dennis
    Tbh beekeeping just keeps getting much easier all the time.

  14. #14
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    Mmmm... well I guess we could train some nanobots to climb into the cells with a grain of sugar each and then go collect some water... but by then, Monsanto will have launched the GMBee that can mix its own syrup as well as extract its own honey and put it into jars. :confused:
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  15. #15
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    >> Bees need to have as little empty space as
    >> possible during cold weather.

    Disagree. Filling 100% of frames or even
    60% in the configuration to be overwintered
    would be a bad thing in colder areas, with
    less impact in warmer areas where a tight
    cluster is less mission-critical.

    > The bees DO need open comb to (crawl into
    > headfirst) as they cluster tight, to generate
    > heat efficiently in the winter.

    Agree. If equipped with a fall feeder, the
    bees will set up the hive as described by
    Lazybee.

    [size="1"][ October 27, 2006, 07:48 AM: Message edited by: Jim Fischer ][/size]

  16. #16
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    >>>> Bees need to have as little empty space as
    >> possible during cold weather.

    Disagree. Filling 100% of frames or even
    60% in the configuration to be overwintered
    would be a bad thing in colder areas, with
    less impact in warmer areas where a tight
    cluster is less mission-critical.<<<<

    It is your right to disagree, but that doesn't make you right. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

    The question comes from VA. You being from there, you should realize a full hive going into winter will eat enough to make all the free space they need before HARD clusters are needed.

  17. #17

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    Obviously, many variables influence the amount of stores needed for a hive going into winter including regional climate & population of the colony--not to mention other factors such as race of bee, colony health, and of course the beekeeper's intentions.

    Our opinion on stores is that they should be maintained in moderation. You can always supplement with feeders during cold months if a hive becomes light. It is much harder to take away and rearrange a hive--if a problem arises.

    1.) Open space is needed not only for heat concentration of a contacting cluster but, also for a queen that will continue to lay through the winter--such as Italinas.

    2.) Excess stores coming out of winter can, for instance, in NWC colony (who's queen ceases laying in the coldest part of winter), cause broodnest congestion--leading to swarming as brood-rearing explodes all of the sudden in late winter. THE KEY TO PREVENT SWARMING IS BROOD NEST EXPANSION.

    In order to achieve this brood nest expansion, it will require that you manipulate frames to keep open cells below and evenly spaced from the center early on in a new season.

    Like the saying goes: "There are as many right ways to do something in beekeeping as there are beekeepers."

    The Bees know best.

    Lazy Bee - Beekeeping and Soapmaking Supplies
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  18. #18
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    > It is your right to disagree,

    Why thank you sooo much! [img]smile.gif[/img]

    > but that doesn't make you right.

    OK, how else might bees cluster properly?

    > The question comes from VA. You being from
    > there, you should realize a full hive going
    > into winter will eat enough to make all the
    > free space they need before HARD clusters
    > are needed.

    Being "from there" means that I may have a
    better feel for what is needed than you may.
    I think you have no idee at all. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Perhaps what you suggest is appropriate for
    an area like yours, where snow is rare, and
    ice storms are the worst winter scenario
    you have. I dunno, and I'm not going
    to make the error of speculating about areas
    where I have not overwintered hives.

    But I can't say anything without prompting
    such argument, now can I? If I said to fill
    up all the combs, you'd argue the other side
    of the issue, just for the sake of argument.

  19. #19
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    Yup, dumb question. [img]smile.gif[/img] [img]smile.gif[/img] No, just kidding. Not a dumb question at all.

    I've done this in the past. A garden watering can works well or take a coffee can and punch some holes in it with the corner of your hive tool. You want to sprinkle the syrup, corn or sugar, into the cells. Messy, but it works.

    Smart kid.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  20. #20
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    >>>Being "from there" means that I may have a
    better feel for what is needed than you may.
    I think you have no idee at all. [Smile] <<<

    I guess you are right. I'm a whole SIXTY MILES from VA. What was I thinking, trying to guess weather that far away.

    You're as much fun as poking a stick at a rattler, just to hear it rattle. I think you may rattle even easier, I don't know.

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