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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Gaithersburg, Maryland
    Posts
    12

    Default Feeding the gals during winter?

    Hello!


    I'm looking for suggestions on bee's feed during these winter months. I live in Central Maryland and the winter so far has had a fair share of warm days (60degrees) and cold days like today ( 30 degrees) I put fondant patties in the hives about mid November. Upon checking yesterday, one hive had failed on me- too small of a cluster, and they had spread themselves about the hive. They left most of the fondant untouched- had vast amounts of untouched pollen as well. Other hive's cluster looked as if it had grown in size (yahooo!) Fondant seems interesting to them. I removed pollen from failed hive and put into other hive. The bee's took to it right away. Any suggestions as another form of feed? Its my first year beekeeping, and I've had just about everything possible (short of a meteor falling on the hives) happen to me this year. I'd obviously like to see my one and only hive make it- Thanks preemptively for the help! Here are some pics of what I did yesterday in the nice weather.....
    http://glorydownsfarm.blogspot.com/2...eys-uncle.html

    Lauren
    Glory Downs Farm
    Gaithersburg, MD

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    Next time just transfer the frames over, no need to scrape out the pollen.

    Looks as though your bees don't have much in the way of winter stores, and even where you are there will be at least 4 more weeks of freezing weather, more likely 6 or 8.

    Next year, make sure you have a full super or full deep of stores on top of the bees in October. Feed syrup if necessary in September to "fatten them up" for the winter, it's better for them to have honey or sugar syrup in combs than to have fondant on top -- they really need to have the stores right under foot, so to speak, so that when they are clustered they have food. When it's cold, and the bees are in their winter cluster, they cannot leave it to get food, they will freeze to death.

    Don't discard the comb from your deadout -- just leave it for the winter and put an new package or split in the hive in the spring, they will be happy to use the comb after cleaning it up. Wax moths won't be a problem until June.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    zanesvile, ohio, usa
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    Glory Downs
    Without knowing what you had going into winter i will take for granted that you had two deep hives. Living in Ohio the weather here isnt much different from Maryland and i checked mine just the other day. I too asked questions about feeding in the winter and I also put fondant patties on a couple of hives.
    I was told by a 60 year beekeeper not to put pollen patties on until mid february as they will stimulate the queen and then cause her to start laying eggs. He said you dont want them laying to early because they dont have the necessary resources to support a lot of bees in this part of the country.
    Hope this helps some. Good luck with the hive this spring..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,064

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    Leave dem bees alone. It's wintert already. It'll get colder before you know it. Especially since you already have fondant on your hives.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    Hey Lauren,
    Just down the pike from you in St Marys. I'll peek into my hives when the temps are in the upper 50s, but only cause I need to monitor their stores or add a candy board. Brood can be chilled/killed pretty fast and those are your new spring bees. My new hives from this year cut it close on stores. I have three hives with small clusters but I'm letting mother nature take its' course and maybe I'll be surprised. My first year of beekeeping, I had a meteor fall ,,,,,, but I learned. Having to solve/fix problems are well learned lesson.
    More than likely, the bees are extracting the honey from the pollen. IMO, once that is complete, they will discard the pollen. You can freeze the pollen frames and use it in a new start up in the spring. Perhaps a split from your survivors.
    Enjoy, best to you

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Gaithersburg, Maryland
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    Thanks everyone for all the info! Finding this VERY helpful! I should have mentioned that when I "peaked on them- not fully opening the hive- it was in the sixties. Also I should have mentioned that the bee's were eating sugar syrup until about mid November when they just stopped taking anymore. Thats when I put in the fondant. In Sept (St. Mary's might have had the same) we had about a solid month of rain. The bee's sucked down most of the stores they had- which was quite an impressive amount. I did not see them venture outside if much at all because of the weather. I went into a bit of a panic wondering "what are they gonna eat now?!" - since they seemed to have consumed all they had for winter ( I of course had not taken any- also had a failed split which I then took the extra honey from that hive and put the extra in the other two) I too thought- "I gotta let mother nature do her thing." As I mentioned in the blog....I don't feel like I can call myself a bee"keeper," cause I ain't really keeping them- I'm just trying to charm them into staying

    Anyways- its nice to have seen them the other day. Thanks for all the info everyone, and warm well wishes for your hives for the remainder of winter!!!!!!!!

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