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Thread: feeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Seattle, WA USA

    Default feeding

    This is my first year of having bees so I'm just learning as I go. I live in seattle. Is it OK to keep feeding the bees? They seem to be going through syrup still.

    Also, I think the hives have been robbed lately. There will be frenzied activity around one hive with quite a few more bees than on a sunny day. They i will reduce the entrance and after about 10 or 15 minutes it will go back to normal looking activity. I've seen that 3 times on one hive and once on the other. Is that what I'm seeing? Should I be doing something else? And what if I'm gone and don't see it happening? Can I tell from looking inside if they're been robbed or not?

    Any suggestions for me?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Dawson, PA USA

    Default Re: feeding

    Welcome to the forum Susan! This is my first year also, and from what I have gathered so far is it is you can feed them until they dont seem to be wanting it anymore. You should quit feeding also when you plan for them to be working on the honey you plan to take b/c you dont want supers full of sugar water mixing in with the honey you plan to keep or sell. The sugar water is just for them. What I have done with mine so far is- My 2 nucs, I didnt feed at all. They were very healthy when I got them and they had stores already. When I picked them up in April there was enough blooming that they could find their own food and they seemed to do well on their own. The swarm that I caught I fed for about 2 weeks. I did this to help them start drawing comb, since I only had two frames of drawn comb for them to start out with. They took a lot of sugar water. sometimes a quart would last only 3-4 hours. Once they had a couple more frames drawn and were bringing in nectar theirselves I quit the feeding. They are doing really well and the hive is healthy. I have no problem feeding but I want to raise bees that can fend for themselves and I don't want to spoil them or even carry on lines of bees that can't make it on their own. This is just my opinion and isnt worth much being it's my first year but is how I feel about it for now. The other more experienced will chime in soon. Thats whats great about this forum, you get advice from first year to 60th year beeks! Good Luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Pepperell, MA.

    Default Re: feeding

    If they're drawing foundation or new comb, feeding is good. As mentioned, when they find a nectar source they'll sometimes stop taking the syrup. Sometimes they stop when you get queen problems although I've had hives where the queen has gone missing and they take the syrup like all was well.

    Robbing is sometimes confused with orientation flights. My hives tend to have intense orientation flights on sunny afternoons. That's normal and you needn't address it at all short of just enjoying the bees. Robbing often includes wrestling and fighting at the entrance. Reducing the entrance, adding a robber screen or other methods can help reduce robbing. At some point, robbing can cause serious problems in the hive. If you have one hive robbing the other(s), sometimes taking the top off the hive that is the source of the robbers will change their mind and they'll spend time defending their colony instead of robbing others. I'd watch carefully and be sure that it's not simply orientation flights before addressing robbing concerns.
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