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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Versailles, KY, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Feeding to stimulate drawn comb inventory

    Hi, I am a new beekeeper and I need some experienced beekeeper(s) to tell me if I am about to do something stupid.

    First, some background. It is my understanding that an inventory of drawn comb is very desirable in the spring. As a new beekeeper I have no surplus inventory, only what is currently in the hive. Here in Kentucky, the spring flow is ending; but, the hive still has lots of capped brood and presumably young bees capable of making wax.

    I was thinking about feeding sugar syrup to stimulate the drawing of comb and so providing an inventory. I haven’t seen anything, pro or con, in the literature about doing this. I can see two possible negatives:
    (1) it would extend the swarm season (since the bees would perceive a nectar flow)
    (2) it would extend the queens egg laying into summer resulting in a increased summer population (but there would be the sugar syrup stores to feed them).

    Please let me know why I should or shouldn’t do this. Also, let me know if some of my assumptions are wrong.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Covington, Ga, USA
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Re: Feeding to stimulate drawn comb inventory

    I have been feeding exactly for your reasons. To allow them to build up. If not,even though i hived them June 4th, probably would not make it as the nectar flow ended for the summer and who's to say we will get a fall flow of any sort. I wondered the same thing as you, but i do not let them get dependent on the sugar water either. I put out 2-3 gallons every couple of days to trick the swarms that have made hives close by(i can see the difference in the bees and the colors)that the flow is gone. I also wat to have a strong hive going into fall just in case we do have a good flow. I don't think your assumtions are wrong either way. I think you are right, it just depends on what you want to do. I have gotten lucky. I added my 2nd deep(waiting on my medium frames) less than a week ago and they have started to draw out comb in it already even though my bottom deep was only drawn at 85%. I did not force or trick them up, they did it themselves...
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Default Re: Feeding to stimulate drawn comb inventory

    In my limited experience, I would say feed. I obtained two hives late in the season back in '02. One of them in June, the other in September. I fed them throughout the summer and fall because our heavy wildflower nectar source is pretty much dried up some time in June here in this area. It didn't cause any problems that I am aware of, and the populations/ food stores in those two hives was good going into winter.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: Feeding to stimulate drawn comb inventory

    my exact question. hived late april and boy are they slow to build. my double brood is sucking down about 1/2 gallon a day, and are just now building out comb in the second box.

    I got into this primarily for pollination, but a bit of honey would be nice - next year. I understand some of the issues of feeding, ie sugar-water honey and that it is more prone to not keeping well, but I would be interested if I/we are doing the wrong thing.

    My bees stopped feeding during the tulip tree bloom, so I stopped - now they can't get enough.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: Feeding to stimulate drawn comb inventory

    Valid question. There are so many variables, there is no general answer. Would need to know status of "the" hive and where you are headed in the way of wintering configuration. Will supply some general comments:
    Drawn comb inventory is worth its weight in aluminum in late winter.
    (1) Your swarm season ended more than two months ago.
    (2) Maybe. But your bees should already be reducing the brood volume by backfilling with nectar/honey. Your feed will likely be used initially to support that effort.

    When the bees get hive set up the way they want it, they generally don"t take feed - even ignore field sources that they do not need at that time. When they have met their survival requirements, they get quite complacent.

    Not trying to talk you out of it, but don't expect dramatic results.

    Walt
    Free advice is often overpriced.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: Feeding to stimulate drawn comb inventory

    Thanks Walt for your advice. My short-lived hive has ebbed and flowed just over the last few months. Thinking that we can control, or get them addicted to anything we do seems to fly in the face of what the bees, as a unit, decide. The vegetables here are blooming, so I expect to see a fall-off in the amount of feed they consume for a while (one of these days soon?).

    I would be curious if anyone else feeding is also including pollen suplements? I haven't seen a pollen-laden worker enter the hive for weeks.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

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