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  1. #1
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    May 2009
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    Monroeville Pa
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    Default feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    I started feeding my one hive dry sugar last week to give them a boost. (once again, first year beekeeper with TBH). I will take a look inside tomorrow. I put it in a shallow container on the bottom of the hive near the entrance. Today is warm and sunny and the bees are coming and going in an organized, peaceful manner.
    Some of the bees are flying out with sugar!!! The bees dont have the look of being robbed (to my inexperienced eye).
    Any comments?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    St. Clair Co. Missouri
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    225

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Did you wet the sugar down any? If it wasn't damp to start with, they tend to think it is unsanitary and haul it out. Once they recognize it as food, they leave it in.
    Charla Hinkle

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Monroeville Pa
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    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Ok, makes sense, thanks Charla.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Quote Originally Posted by laurelmtnlover View Post
    I will take a look inside tomorrow. I put it in a shallow container on the bottom of the hive near the entrance. Any comments?
    Comments? Yeah, dry sugar near the entrance will probably be seen by the bees as not food, but trash to be taken out of the hive. Bees store their food above themselves. That's where they need to be fed from.
    Last edited by Barry; 11-08-2009 at 09:45 PM.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  5. #5

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    I think it is fair to say that regardless of the type of hive used, one should engage in as much research and learning as possible about bee biology, behavior and ecology.

    Big Bear
    Last edited by Barry; 11-08-2009 at 09:45 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Monroeville Pa
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    189

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    I have studied and learned alot this summer, my first. I have experienced much joy with my bees. There is so much to learn and many ways of beekeeping. I have no local mentor with TBH and I am mentored by a man in Georgia, via cellphone and internet. I have never been around bees before in my life. I was turned off by a similar attitude when I sought information from a local lang beekeeper. I'm glad I didn't pay any attention to him either.
    Last edited by Barry; 11-08-2009 at 09:47 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
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    526

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    laurelmtnlover, I will be first year beekeeper next spring and will be using top bar hives.

    Three books I would recommend to anyone:

    Beekeeping for Dummies: Great book even if the title seems offensive. Lots of good beekeeping information.

    The Barefoot Beekeeper: For those who want to keep bees in top bar hives. Great book. A few spelling errors in the .pdf version, not sure about the printed edition.

    I have both of these books.

    First Lessons in Beekeeping by C.P. Dadant.

    Both the Dummies book and the Dadant book are geared towards lang hives. However, the information is valid for disease, feeding, etc.

    I am in Ohio and will be using a follower board with a notch cut out in the bottom to accept a Lang entrance feeder. When I get a chance, I will post some photos.

  8. #8
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    May 2009
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    Monroeville Pa
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    189

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Thanks FB,
    I have read alot this summer, sometimes as much as two hours a night. I am a huge fan of Michael Bush. Hence the sugar feed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Quote Originally Posted by laurelmtnlover View Post
    Thanks FB,
    I have read alot this summer, sometimes as much as two hours a night. I am a huge fan of Michael Bush. Hence the sugar feed.
    So, is that how Michael feeds his TBHs?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
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    206

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Quote Originally Posted by laurelmtnlover View Post
    Thanks FB,
    I have read alot this summer, sometimes as much as two hours a night. I am a huge fan of Michael Bush. Hence the sugar feed.
    lol who isn't a huge fan of Michael Bush? He seems to be the local hero for TBH.

    Sam.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Monroeville Pa
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    189

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    So, is that how Michael feeds his TBHs?
    There is so much information out there; if I am doing this incorrectly, I hope someone points it out. I also read that he doesn't advocate feeding sugar at all, but leaving them enough honey stores.
    This is what I found from a quick search of www.bushbees.com
    "Dry Sugar. This can be fed a number of ways. Some people just dump it down the back of the hive (definitely not recommended with Screened Bottom Boards as it will fall through to the ground). Some put it on top of the inner cover. Some put a sheet of newspaper on top of the top bars, add a box on top and put the sugar on the newspaper (as in the photos above). Others put it in a frame feeder (the black plastic trough kind). I've even pulled two frames out of an eight frame box that were empty and dumped the sugar in the gap (with a solid bottom board of course). Sometimes the house bees carry it out for trash. If you drizzle some water on it you can get the bees interested in it. The finer the sugar the better they take it. If you can get "bakers" sugar or "drivert" sugar it will be better accepted that standard sugar but harder to find and more expensive.

    What kind of sugar? It matters not at all if it's beet sugar or cane sugar."
    Last edited by laurelmtnlover; 11-09-2009 at 12:56 PM. Reason: more

  12. #12
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    And all that is in reference to TBHs? Sounds like the feeding of Langstroth housed bees to me.

    I extend a public apology for my first posts on this thread.

    I'm sorry and ask forgiveness for someone who just can't see the why of TBHs when technologically advanced hives were developed over 150 years ago. I know the reason for the existence of TBHs in Kenya and other less affluent countries, but why here. I guess I'm just narrow minded and don't have the time to see their worth here. Again, I'm sorry.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  13. #13

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    You don't have to be sorry, but you might consider that just because you don't see value in something, doesn't mean that other people don't.

    For you, TBH's have no place in your yards or management style. However, for many others, they fit in uniquely and specifically.

    It's all good, there's just no need for broad generalizations simply because one person doesn't 'see it' the same way others do.

    Have fun,

    Big Bear

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
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    526

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Reasons I am going with a top bar hive:

    * Will only have 1-3 hives.
    * No need for a honey extractor.
    * No need for full frames.
    * No need for foundation.
    * No need for a queen excluder.
    * No need for having supers and storage space for extra supers.
    * Bees will build more to their own desires (I am not in it for mass amounts of honey or wax).

    Will I be able to transfer top bars from hive to hive? As long as I do not break the combs off, yes.

    Cost of my hive: about $70. Added a few things since I originally finished it. Handles, shingled roof (leftover shingles from prior home owner). Top bars are constructed with some scrap lumber from shipping crates I got out of a burn pile.

    Top bar hives give people with limited budgets a way to get into beekeeping. Top bar hives are not designed for the type of commercial beekeeping that we have had since about 1851. Removable and interchangeable framed hives are great, but they are not the only way. I was thrilled to discover the top bar hive. For those only wanting a few hives and not having the expense that goes along with langstroth hives, top bar hives fit in just fine.

    I was really discouraged by family members when I said I wanted to get started in beekeeping. They were surprised to learn about top bar hives and the low cost to construct one. I was warned about the cost of the extractor or renting an extractor, all the extra supers, and other equipment I would need. Not so with a top bar hive.

    I am ready for honey bees in my top bar hive here in Ohio. Now if I can just control my urge to buy a package of bees RIGHT NOW, I will be ok.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Comments? Yeah, dry sugar near the entrance will probably be seen by the bees as not food, but trash to be taken out of the hive. Bees store their food above themselves. That's where they need to be fed from.
    I've fed on the bottom of the hive in a container before without issue. I like to keep it away from the entrance, however, to reduce potential robbing. It's also easier to add more without disturbing the colony.

    Matt

  16. #16
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    Jun 2008
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    Portland, OR, USA
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    635

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    And all that is in reference to TBHs? Sounds like the feeding of Langstroth housed bees to me.

    I extend a public apology for my first posts on this thread.

    I'm sorry and ask forgiveness for someone who just can't see the why of TBHs when technologically advanced hives were developed over 150 years ago. I know the reason for the existence of TBHs in Kenya and other less affluent countries, but why here. I guess I'm just narrow minded and don't have the time to see their worth here. Again, I'm sorry.
    As a slightly flawed but altogether helpful comparison, I liken the top bar hive to the bicycle and the Langstroth hive to the automobile. The bicycle has largely been replaced by the automobile in effectiveness of accomplishing the chief end -- getting from one place to another. However, there is still a devout following of the bicycle -- more so in some places than others (Portland, OR, for example).

    Similarly, the Langstroth hive generally produces more honey and larger colonies quicker than the top bar hive. However, there is still a devout following of the top bar hive despite slower production. Surely in both the case of the bicycle and top bar hive there must be something other than rapidly accomplishing a task that draws in the followers.

    To me it is the low cost, less invasive, slower-paced beekeeping that draws me to the top bar hive. Mind you, I also have a Langstroth hive and numerous Warre hives, but I must say that my favorite hive to work in is the top bar hive. It may be slower, it may be eccentric, but my chief end is to give the bees a place to call home.

    I don't fault you for not understanding the draw of the top bar hive or other alternative methods. Maybe you've tried a top bar hive and didn't like it! If you primary goal is honey production or massive colonies, by all means, stick with the Langstroth hive! If your goal is standardization, and staying with what you know works, stick with the Langstroth hive! But if you take the chance, you may just find that horizontal top bar hives are a lot more fun than you imagined.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Monroeville Pa
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    189

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    And all that is in reference to TBHs? Sounds like the feeding of Langstroth housed bees to me.

    I extend a public apology for my first posts on this thread.

    I'm sorry and ask forgiveness for someone who just can't see the why of TBHs when technologically advanced hives were developed over 150 years ago. I know the reason for the existence of TBHs in Kenya and other less affluent countries, but why here. I guess I'm just narrow minded and don't have the time to see their worth here. Again, I'm sorry.
    Yes, I agree you are narrow minded and maybe have something to learn yourself. Again, my bees have been a joy to me. Why fault me for that? I am obviously on this site to gain from those more experienced than me. I'm glad I found TBH beekeeping, on my own, and plan on expanding next year. I imagine when you quit learning, alot of the joy would be gone.
    I love the simplicity, the sheer health and wealth of nature without chemicals.
    My life has been enhanced by the keeping of bees with the Top Bar Hive.
    BTW,
    I peeked in the hive today after working three twelve hour nights, the bees are taking the sugar, and I dampened it a little to help them. All looks good and my fingers are crossed for a healthy hive after winter. Time to think about skiing. I'm new at that too, but love it and can't live without it either!!
    Last edited by laurelmtnlover; 11-09-2009 at 04:42 PM. Reason: more

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Please keep us posted with the sugar feeding. I have a late started top bar hive that I anticipate will need some help.
    I keep both Langstroth and top bar hives. Top bar is just different and I enjoy it very much.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,492

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    The first time I tried feeding dry sugar they hauled it all out for trash so I wrote that off as a waste of time and money. When Mountain Camp wrote about it here on Beesource, I brought up that objection and he suggested getting it a little bit wet around the edges. This has two advantages. One, it gets them interested in it as feed as the wet sugar is umistakable as food to a bee, where dry it is easily mistaken for trash, and two, it gets it stuck together which makes it harder for them to haul it out the door (or it run down through the newspaper like an hourglass) without them first dissolving it, again, making them realize it is food and not trash.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Naples, Italy
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    193

    Default Re: feeding dry sugar-what gives?

    Thanks for all the information here, and on your site Mr. Bush! At some point I'll be a first year beek and I'm gonna start out with the TBH on our farm

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