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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Spicewood, TX, USA
    Posts
    375

    Default New Colonies, Exceptional Drought, and Feeding

    I started out this year as a newbie, with 5 new hives, 1 trapped swarm, 2 nucs in April, and two nucs in June. I have been feeding them consistenly since they were installed. After setting and all-time record for number of days over 100, this week (70), and what may go down as the worst drought in central Texas history, I was astonished to see all my hives hualing in tons of yellow pollen this morning. I honestly thought there was not a single living thing growing anywhere near here.

    I have read lots of feed/don't feed topics and never get a conclusive answer and assume it is a very geographical issue. My question is, if they are bringing in lots of pollen, does that have any meaning in the decision whether to feed or not? Surely there is no flow to speak of and there is more comb that needs to be built. All things considered, they have weathered pretty well and seem to be pretty healthy. My one hive that superceded back in May, may be the strongest hive of them all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: New Colonies, Exceptional Drought, and Feeding

    You will have to look at them and see if they need feeding -- if they are bringing in nectar along with the pollen, probably not for the time being, if they are not, keep feeding.

    You will want sufficient stores of honey and pollen (or sugar syrup and pollen) for them to survive the winter and build up in the spring. You will need to talk to someone local to see what they need at your location -- here they need a full deep brood box of honey or they tend to starve if we have a long winter, as we occasionally do. You may need less, depending on where you are and the winter.

    There is no fixed answer for "how much to feed" -- it depends on your nectar flow, pollen availability, and your bees.

    Given the weather, I'd check often -- if they have needed feeding all summer and have not backfilled the brood nest while you fed them, likely any nectar flow will be minimal and you will need to feed 2:1 syrup this fall.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    DeKalb Co. Alabama U.S.A.
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: New Colonies, Exceptional Drought, and Feeding

    I think the feed/don't feed arguement goes to the side of "feed for survival". I don't feed...have considered it for drawing comb, but haven't as of yet. If I were in your situation - I would seriously consider it.

    Since you have been feeding from the start and having good results, I would think feed as long as they continue to take syrup. At least that is the usual recommendation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Spicewood, TX, USA
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: New Colonies, Exceptional Drought, and Feeding

    Since you have been feeding from the start and having good results, I would think feed as long as they continue to take syrup. At least that is the usual recommendation.
    That's kind of the way I am leaning. I'm hoping to have two deeps each going into winter and may come close to that. Long range predictions say 50/50 chance that La Nina will re-establish in the Pacific this year. Not good for Texas. It would be nice if we could have EL NORMAL, for a change.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,020

    Default Re: New Colonies, Exceptional Drought, and Feeding

    Don't forget that, especially when there is a lack of forage, bees will actually harvest other things, even sawdust, etc. when they can't locate pollen. I'd verify that what they are harvesting is being stored in honeycomb cells and is actually bee bread.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

    Default Re: New Colonies, Exceptional Drought, and Feeding

    Hi RB,

    You picked one of the worst years in our history to start but made the right call to keep feeding. Just make sure you protect them against fire ants and robbing. La Nina is apparently on the way back, and with over 80 days and counting of 100+ degree weather and zero rain this summer, there will be precious little forage for our bees for many months to come.
    Hope you and your family did not suffer loss in the wildfire in Spicewood. I am afraid of what may still be to come from more wildfires.
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

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