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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Herriman, Utah, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default How long to feed a new package?

    I installed my 1st package 3 weeks ago meaning I'm still winging it. I've read many contradictory opinions about feeding (do, don't, only when needed, etc..) As a newbee, I don't have a clue when it's 'needed'.

    I currently have a hive top feeder in place and they are taking it down at about 2 gallons a week. They seem to be developing the colony just fine. 1 deep hive body is about half full of drawn comb with a mix of eggs, larvae and capped brood. My question is how long should I feed? I would prefer to remove the feeder and let them gather the natural stuff but can I without endangering the growing colony? Apples are just about finished blossoming here. I don't have any idea what defines the start and end of the spring nectar flow in my area. Anyone have thoughts on the merits and timing of feeding in general? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,124

    Default

    Some will tell you keep feeding until they stop taking it. My package stopped taking it after week 2. I was going to stop feeding them even had they not stopped. When their bring in lots of pollan and necter they will make their own food.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Herriman, Utah, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback. May I ask why you were going to stop feeding even if they hadn't stop taking it? Mine appear to be bringing in pollen at a good rate but inexperience doesn't allow me to know if it's enough to handle the cold days yet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,300

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ealldredge View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. May I ask why you were going to stop feeding even if they hadn't stop taking it? Mine appear to be bringing in pollen at a good rate but inexperience doesn't allow me to know if it's enough to handle the cold days yet.
    Cold days? It's a long time before cold for most of us, especially here in the Contiguous U. S. A.

    I'd be cautious with feeding, you could possibly stimulate them into swarming just before Autumn or Winter. If there's a honey flow they won't need it anyway.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,124

    Default

    I was going to stop feeding because they are bringing tons of pollen. If its a day here and there that its cold then I woundn't worry to much. Weeks at a time is a different story. Whats you avg temps in Utah right now. And do you have alot of flowers blooming right now (especially dandelions)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Herriman, Utah, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default

    What I mean by 'cold days' is simply that with spring weather, we may have a cold front move in for a few days keeping the highs in 40s and 50s which keeps most of the bees inside. With a new package, I don't know if they have had enough time to build up reserves to last more than a few days. This spring has been a slow long drawn out rise from winter. Usually we're well into warm weather weeks before now but not this year. We've only had a few days hit the 70s so far. A lot of flowers are now blooming so it sounds like I can remove the feeder at any time.

    Thanks for your help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,124

    Default

    Check the 7-10 day forecast and see if a cold snap is comming. If so you may want to feed another few days. I bet with the amount you say they have taken they have plenty stored.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Middlebury, Vermont
    Posts
    42

    Smile

    I have been a bee keeper for 4 years now and have made many decisions on my two hives. I have had just about every problem associated with keeping bees from Bears to Mites. But I think what makes most sense to me is take the advice of long time bee keepers, read on the subject and make your best judgment on what to do, then do it! If it didn't work out, you know not to do it again. It has helped me learn from my own mistakes. Things happen for a reason. Bees know how to take care of themselves, they just need a little help sometimes. If everything looks like it's going Ok, then it most likely is. Enjoy the experience!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    91

    Default

    I'd keep feeding. Here in Minnesota if I install package bees on foundation, especially plastic foundation, in May, I feed until they have drawn out all the frames in the first deep and have 7-8 frames drawn on the second deep. If I am using 3 deeps I would keep feeding till they have drawn 7-8 frames on the third deep.

    We installed our packages 10 days ago and our bees are still working on the first gallon of syrup. They won't take it if there is nectar available, but by keeping feed on them if it is too cold for them to fly, or if it rains, they can use the syrup and keep on raising brood without any interruptions. It doesn't matter how much pollen they are bringing in, if they don't have nectar as well.

    I have never had new packages on new foundation swarm the first year, so that does not concern me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default feeding

    sugar is cheap,packages are expensive, s@#$t happens. whats the downside? if you grossly overfeed or don"t tend your bees enough they MIGHT get honeybound and the queen stop laying. prudent people usually have insurance,and most beekeeps (actually all) i know feed packages.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    518

    Default

    I would think that the packages would be similar to swarms and I like to feed all my swarms until they get their deep drawn and mostly filled. As soon as they have that taken care of and are ready for their first super I quit the feed. By that time, first of June, weather has warmed, first brood should start to emerge and they should be able to start adding a surplus.

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