Results 1 to 14 of 14
  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
    27,217

    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!!!!!!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,217

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    How did you determine they had eaten all of their stores?

    After they stopped taking syrup you put fondant on them, right? Did they eat all of that too?

    At this stage of the game, I am fond of newspaper and granulated sugar, in a feeder rim.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Gaithersburg, Maryland
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    I had "guessed," they did by not seeing a single drop of honey in the hive. The capped honey they did have going into fall time was now uncapped. I'm first year so I really didn't know what to particularly look for- but they did stop drinking the syrup and fondant went on top of where they began to cluster. Fondant is interesting to them. Not sure how much they are consuming as I put alot of the patty in there. There is still a good amount of fondant left. Can you tell me about newspaper and sugar feeder rim? I'm unaware

  9. #9

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glory Downs Farm View Post
    Can you tell me about newspaper and sugar feeder rim? I'm unaware
    Here are some links for your reading enjoyment!
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,699

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    When checking for stores, instead of opening up, lift them from the front bottom board to gain an idea of the weight. Do this several times a year when they have the two brood boxes. Learn from this. Then when it comes to times like this, instead of opening you can lift and gauge the weight. I would try and lift with one arm because two arms can be deceiving. Once you get into practice, you will learn when they need feed and when they do not. A simple and practical solution...You know that feeling when you go to lift something you expect to be heavy and in reality it is light and you feel like you could send it to orbit? That is light. You do not have to lift it high, a few inches is all you need.

    When you open them in the winter, even though the days are nice, the seal of propolis gets broken and it allows the cold air to come in. This becomes a problem because eventually it will get cold again.
    Fondant is a good thing later on. Like pollen patties though, it dries out and does so quickly. When it does, it becomes useless to the bees. So pick your times when to feed it. Make sure it will be useful.
    Winter feeding is best left to the fall. Give them what they need in the fall when they can dry it down and seal it. I live in Canada. In the fall (september) we feed 5-7 gallons of feed per hive. They take it in fast and store it. This works out to 1 very full heavy top deep and stores in the bottom box. This should and usually lasts them until March.


    Not to be preachy here but, learn from your experiences here and this past summer. One of the most important is winter prep and to do it early on. When you start winter feeding, scrap the small jars and bottles. Go directly to the 2.5 gallon pail and invert on the top of the hive. You will be surprised at how fast they can take it in. Then refill quickly otherwise they will not be so good at taking the next bunch in. The trick is to get it in fast. I have seen them empty and store a 2.5 gallon pail in a week.
    I think winter feeding is one of the most important jobs that we as beekeepers need to get a good understanding of fast.

    That and mites

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Gaithersburg, Maryland
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    Thanks Honeyshack! Great great info! And thanks Slow Modem for the link!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    GDF,
    From the info you are giving, I can't make sense here. You fed them till November, and they used it all? IMO no way. I quit giving mine syrup first of Oct. and even then I believe I was pushing it regardless of our mild temps. Processing/storage becomes an issue.
    Me thinks you fed a weak/dying hive and other bees just robbed it as fast as you fed it. Just MHO

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    >Can you tell me about newspaper and sugar feeder rim?

    Here are pictures:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,217

    Default Re: Feeding the gals during winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glory Downs Farm View Post
    Can you tell me about newspaper and sugar feeder rim? I'm unaware
    I tried to Post this Reply before. A number have already explained, but this is what I do, some times.

    A wooden rim the same size as a super, but only 1 1/2 or 2 inches tall. Take off the covers and place the rim on top of the hive. Place a sheet or two of newspaper in the rim. Pour a 5lb bag of sugar onto the paper. Spread it out even. Replace the covers. Leave alone until bees fly.

    This sugar should last a colony of bees about a month. They usually have honey in their combs too, so the sugar acts as a supplemental feed source.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads