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  1. #341
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Fall Sugar Prices in SE PA:

    Just made some rounds tonight before I start feeding some light hives:

    Exton Aldi's: $1.58 per 4 lb
    Exton Sam's Club: $3.98 per 10 lb
    Downingtown Bottom Dollar: $1.69 per 4lb
    Exton Walmart: $>2.00 per 4lb

    Anyone beat Aldi's/Sam's? Sam's is only a couple cents more and less bags to deal with.

    I plan to feed 5:3 Sugar:Water mix early enough they can reduce moisture and cap.

  2. #342
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland County, PA, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    The best price I have found on the western side of the state is Bottom Dollar in McKeesport: 1.39 per 4 lb.
    It was 1.34 a couple of weeks ago.
    Wish I had bought more.
    Bob

  3. #343
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    I'll be heading to western PA on Thurs Morning for the weekend - Indiana, County. I'll be checking prices there and possibly load up on my way out of town. I wanted to get my best local price before I head west. Thanks for the heads up Bob.

  4. #344
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Hillside market had a 50# bag for 17.00 a week or two ago. That works out to 1.36 for 4 pounds. Hillside market is on Rt. 10 and and Rt. 340. These two roads join for about 1/4 mile and Hillside is a small market on that 1/4 mile section. The owner is Amish or Menonite I'm not sure. When do you plan on starting feeding? It seems that my hives are bringing in stuff now. Perhaps goldenrod or something else?

  5. #345
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland County, PA, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    PAHUNTER: “I'll be heading to western PA on Thurs Morning for the weekend - Indiana, County. I'll be checking prices there and possibly load up on my way out of town. I wanted to get my best local price before I head west.”

    Yes, don't haul if you don't have to. There are two Bottom Dollars on the east side of Pittsburgh, McKeesport and Penn Hills. Penn Hills is close to the Interstate into the Burgh. Hey, if you are near Irwin, I am about 2 miles from the Turnpike exit. Stop by.

    Delber: “When do you plan on starting feeding? It seems that my hives are bringing in stuff now. Perhaps goldenrod or something else? “

    I have started feeding. We have a dearth that started mid-July. I am a first year beek and made a few mistakes with feeding. I have 3 hives. I put Brushy Mtn 2-quart entrance feeders on in mid-July. I added a tablespoon of Honey-B-Heathy to the 1:1 batch of syrup. I won't call it a feeding frenzy, but there were more bees in front if my hives than I had ever seen before. Yea, maybe it was a frenzy. I couldn't get reducers on because the feeder filled of the 8-frame entrances and there were bees EVERYWHERE. I had some cedar shims nearby that I had been using to level the hives. I laid one in front of each entrance at an angle. This created a tunnel with openings at each end. I think it controlled the situation, but all three feeders were empty within 3 hours. OK, scratch entrance feeders.

    Then at our Bee club picnic, one of the old timers showed us his candy boards with 5 lb of sugar mixed with 2 cups of water and heated to 240. He had already put then on and will continue to replace then through winter. OK, easy design, easy recipe, I can do this. Sooo. I knocked out the boards and started cooking. Hard to get it up to 240, but after a hour we hit it. Then I realized I was using 4 lb bags of sugar instead of 5, and the pot was full, so I boiled it some more hoping to reduce the liquid. Should have cooked it some more. They did not set up. 2 days later I got the bright idea to put the slushy candy boards in the oven. Baked them for about an hour at 275. Did you know that glue dissolves at that temp? Now my wife wants a new oven, and the darn boards still didn't set up, and the wife wanted them OUT of the house. Next mistake, I sat them on our porch. Bad idea. This time it was a feeding frenzy. Everybee in the township was on our porch. Wife is very upset and threatening to burn the hives. Got some screened inner covers on the boards and got them moved to the bee yard, then used the shop vac to blow the stragglers away. Took a couple of days and moving one of the boards a little closer to the house as bait, but they have left the porch. (and I finally got the oven clean).

    Last Thursday I set up the top feeders and gave each hive 8 lbs of 1:1 syrup. I finally learned how to do that right. I tried to feed a split with the top (tank) feeder in June and ended up with hundreds of drowned bees. The old timer from whom I bought the feeders from straighten me out. NO inner covers on top of the feeders. Who knew, not me. Another rookie mistake. This time no dead bees.
    I checked the hives yesterday and my strongest colony had emptied their feeder, the other two were at least empty. I refilled the empty feeder and will refill the other two today. I am working on a pump system. Got a 640 gallon per hour drill powered pump at Harbor Freight for $14 and hose at Lowes, but can't get to work. I can not lift the 5 gallon bucket of syrup and ladling it out was very messy, attracting yellow jackets. So today I will be troubleshooting the pump or returning it.

    As to your bees bringing in pollen, yes mine are too, and yes it is goldenrod, jewel weed and Japanese Knotweed (per our state inspector who posts on the bee club's Facebook page. I am told that goldenrod does not make nectar below 1200 feet elevation and at higher elevations only after the 3rd week of bloom. Ours started about a two weeks ago and I am at 1150 elevation. For 10 years I managed rail to trail projects and fought knotweed with a vengeance. Now I learn that knotweed has the best nectar of any plant, and great pollen too. Bummer, now I have like the stuff. Talking with some of our club's old timers at county fair, they told me knotweed made a red honey and that it will crystallize early. Just hope I get some for the bees to have over winter. I have not taken any honey off and the stores are thin.

    It does get easier, doesn't? I have made a lot of mistakes to learn from, so surely it will get easier, right?

    Bob in Westsylania

  6. #346
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    I've been getting my sugar at the Limerick Costco for $17.49 for 50 pounds. That works out to about 35 cents a pound. It's not worth hauling the stuff for a penney, or two, a pound to me. I do expect to use about 750 pounds this late summer, and fall. It does get easier as you learn more, but there is always some work to do, especially with mites, winter preps, and spring swarm prevention.

  7. #347
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    I didn't know the name to Japanese Knotweed. Man I hate that stuff once they go to the burr stage!!! If they are good then I'll "allow" them to grow off of my property, but I had some of those around my hives one year and they were a major pain late in the summer / early fall. I had to clean my jeans off every time and often my jacket / vail also. Major pain to work around. But knowing that they are a good source of nectar this may explain why a few years back I had one of the hives that were set up with this around them got robbed out terribly.

    Oh and BTW the "frenzy" that you had at the entrance is due to the entrance feeder. They can work well if you only have one hive and there are no other hives around. Otherwise they'll attract every other bee in the area. Oh and HBH doesn't help either. They will take it better, but also other bees will smell it and seek to get in. I fed a hive that was small some syrup w/ HBH added and they got totally robbed out that day. I put the feed on and went to work. I came home only to find my hives robbing the tar out of that hive. I don't use HBH anymore. They will take the straight sugar syrup when they "need" it. Which is when there's not other stuff that's better coming in. And personally if they're able to get other stuff then that's what I want them to be fattened up on, not the sugar. It's better for their gut.

  8. #348
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Thanks for the info on Hillside Market Debler. I'll check them out. I plan to give most of the light hives a gallon of 5:3 mixture early Sept, then monitor as they go through the peak of the goldenrod. Later in the month, I will check on them and provide more as needed.

  9. #349
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland County, PA, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    DPBsbees,
    How many hives does it take to use 750 lbs of sugar?

    Delber, I think you are confusing something else with Japanese Knotweed (aka Pennsylvania Bamboo). Knotweed is an invasive plant that grows 8-10 feet high in a single season. It can grow 4 inches a day. No burrs. The stock looks like bamboo and it has large oval leaves. It spreads by both root and seed.

    Here is more at our Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources and others.

    http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/group...cnr_010254.pdf

    http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa....ty.aspx?=30011

    http://extension.psu.edu/franklin/ne...on-our-forests

    And yes, you are absolutely right about the Honey-B-heathy. I knew as soon as I filled the entrance feeders, it was a mistake. I only used a tablespoon between all three feeders, but I could smell it just standing near the hives, and so could a lot of neighboring bees. Lesson learned.

    I do believe they are finding the good stuff. I just checked the feeders and they have not gone down much from this morning, so hopefully the goldenrod had met its magic moment and the knotweed is living up to its reputation, and I may not have to make a sugar run for a while.

    Thanks all for the advice. This newbee appreciates it.

    Bob

  10. #350
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    I have 11 hives now and they all are low on stores. I only take from the supers, and I only took from one hive. I began the year with with 4 hives, so that is why they are short on stores. I intend to have 20 next year, and need at least two that I can split from to get there. I've not lost a hive after winter in 4 years. I believe that is due to my mite program (testing, MAQS), winter stores (Dadant winter patties, insulation), and making sure that I have good queens. I no longer buy bees, but I do get queens to ensure that there are good genetics around here. Things are looking pretty good for this time of year. The pollen is coming in, and the bees are well behaved. I'll feed when needed to make sure they have the proper weight, and I'll check again for mites in about two weeks. A low mite load, good stores, and checking in when the weather is good in the winter ( to add a sugar patty , if needed) has worked for me for 4 years in a row.
    I do use Honey B Healthy, but I put robbing screens on any hive that is not strong. It keeps the sugar water from molding, and my screens make it a non issue. If everyone is light, I'll feed them all then there is no need for them to rob.

  11. #351
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Just another thought for you all. . . a tsp. of bleach per gallon will also keep the sugar from molding. Seeing as how they often "prefer" to drink from a pool I figure that's Ok. (I read it on here some time ago, but it was referencing what the oldtimers would put in a 50 gallon drum to keep it from going bad. And it doesn't encourage robbing. I can feed one hive and not the one next to it even if the hive is small. (I'm doing it now and have no problems)

  12. #352
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland County, PA, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Thanks Delber, I have been adding a splash of vinegar.

    Bob

  13. #353
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_in_Westsylvania View Post
    Thanks Delber, I have been adding a splash of vinegar.

    Bob
    I have read of this also on here. It was and is honestly puzzling to me in that the main ingredient in those YJ home made traps is apple cider vinegar and I remember reading on here that honeybees don't like vinegar. So the thought of putting some in syrup in my mind would make it less attractive to them. Have you ever had an issue with them taking the syrup Bob?

  14. #354
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Vinegar -

    I also put a splash of apple cider vinegar in my syrup. They have no issue taking and storing it away. I made a few top feeders based on the fatbeeman design - I fill the pan at night and within a day it is dry.

  15. #355
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,042

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    So PA. guys do any of you take nucs through winter? And if so how many boxes are you using? I took 2 nucs through winter last year but they where 3 box high and they where swarms that were hived in mid sept. and both have been strong hives all year.
    Any way I have like 15 nucs that are only 2 boxes high and i'm thinking it's getting to late to have them build comb but them again it's only 5 frames. My golden rod is just now starting to come in all my nucs are lite with stores I tried to feed like two weeks ago but they where just getting robbed out but now the golden rod is coming in so im going to try to feed again plus I made robbing screens.
    So are 2 boxes good idea for winter ?
    thank you.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 15 hives==== T{OAV}

  16. #356
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    The smallest nuc that I overwintered so far was 4.5 deep frames. It was a cut-out from July that only filled 2 deep frames. They overwintered 2 years ago which was a VERY mild winter. This year I'm overwintering 6 total 7 frame nucs, one 10 frame deep. These are all single boxes. I make my own size boxes so I get 7 frames and a 1/4" luan divider / follower board in the box. I have had GREAT success with overwintered nucs. They have kept me going for sure. They have often been my best hives the next year. That's my plan for this year. We'll see what next year brings. I must say however I do make also my own lids that have a 3/4" piece of foam insulation built in and I stack the hives together. I know that has helped in the past. I think my plan this year will be one production hive on the end (3 total 7 frame deeps tall) on the end and 2 nucs stacked on top of each other next to that so there will be 5 perhaps on a stand that way. We'll see how it works out.

  17. #357
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Hey GLOCK, I have been over wintering nucs for 3 or 4 years now.I use 5 frame double deeps mostly .Last year I tried using one of my queen castles with 5 frames on each side and a super of honey on top ended up losing one side over winter.

  18. #358
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    I make my own custom sized NUCs also. Since I run all 8 frame mediums for production hives, I made my NUCs 6 frame medium. I plan to overwinter a few in double 6 frame medium this year.

    I checked with Hillside on sugar prices, they were $18.89 per 50 LB bag on Thursday. Was only 3 miles out of my way when heading west. Will probably pick up a few bags Monday upon my return.

    I checked two swarms I caught late in the year in western PA. I've decided to trek them back to Downingtown and do a combine of the two sometime this week. One is only a the equivalent of about 3 frames of bees and comb. I'll try build them up as a strong double NUC before winter.

    Retrieved all my traps to store until next spring.

  19. #359
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland County, PA, USA
    Posts
    47

    Sad Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Quote Originally Posted by PAHunter62 View Post
    I checked with Hillside on sugar prices, they were $18.89 per 50 LB bag on Thursday. Was only 3 miles out of my way when heading west. Will probably pick up a few bags Monday upon my return.
    Hey PAHunter, grab that sugar as quick as you can. Something is happening to sugar prices. I stopped at Aldi's on the way home tonight and paid $1.99 for 4 pounds, Walmart was higher.

    Bob

  20. #360
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,042

    Default Re: Colony update here in Pa

    Well I got 25 hives with 25 healthy laying queens all my nucs are putting on weight and my mite loads are going down now that i'm in my 2nd treatment with OAV . The golden rod is coming in and all is well hope things go good all winter to.
    Been a great year the things I have learned.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 15 hives==== T{OAV}

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