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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Monroeville Pa
    Posts
    188

    Default What is the purpose of fall feeding?

    I understand that low honey stores would dictate fall feeding, but will it stimulate brood rearing, thus increasing the needs of the hive? The hive dwindles in the fall, therefore decreasing the feeding needs; should this natural process be interrupted? Do they store the sugar the same as they do nectar?
    Is feeding a safety mechanism to prevent starvation? Wouldn't late winter, early spring be more of a risk period?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: What is the purpose of fall feeding?

    I'm just starting with my first top bar after spending too much money housing swarms in traditional hives.

    I get scared and feed when in doubt and am probably over doing it. I've seen them empty the feeder in September at the end of our derth and after the fall blooms arrive, ignore it all winter. I haven't lost any hives over the past five years and now have six including the top bar.

    My first year I nearly lost the hive twice. Once due to a non-laying queen and then then to our summer derth. I fed and they survived to swarm in the spring which gave me hive No. 2. The swarm was discouraging, but better than starting over. This year was a disaster for me. I got very little surplus due the wet spring and some over zealous swarm prevention. The hives were light and again I'm being cautious. My thin how to bees book suggests an amount of honey to leave behind for the winter, but local conditions vary far too much for blanket direction.

    In the end, the bees do what do without any consideration for their keeper and we accomplish our goals on their terms. I suggest finding a nearby old codger beek and asking him what stores he likes to see. And, If your stung as bad me, you will eventually see that codger in the mirror.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: What is the purpose of fall feeding?

    The concept of fall feeding is a lot of 2:1 syrup in a short time. It might stimulate a little brooding but not a lot. The concept of spring stimulative feeding is a slow feeding of more watered down syrup (1:1) over a longer time. This is more likely to stimulate brooding. In reality, I find lots of stores and pollen are more stimulative than syrup, but if they are short on stores, of course, syrup is quite a stimulative for brood rearing. But any influx of stores will be somewhat stimulative, yes.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,599

    Default Re: What is the purpose of fall feeding?

    I do fall feeding, but only because where I'm at, there's not a fall nectar flow. I feed in mid August thru mid October with sugar water syrup and pollen patties. I stop by mid October for them to get time to cure the nectar and seal up the hive and combs the way they want. I give the pollen patties to help stimulate a bit of brood rearing to get some young bees onboard to last the hive through until early spring.

    I hate having to feed bees, as honey stores are much better for them than sugar water syrup stores, I think. But with lack of flow in late summer and early fall, I feel I would not bee a responsible beeker if I let the hives reduce in numbers because of lack of flow in the fall, to the point that it would be questionable if they would make it through the winter or not.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

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