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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Bay City, MI, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Feeding naturally

    I am trying to handle my bees as close to naturally as possible. That said, we in the Midwest are having an early warm spell. Our bees are flying like crazy, but there is nothing in bloom yet. I want to start feeding mine so they make it through the early spring, but I want to avoid giving them unnatural food (read: sugar water or syrup). I was thinking of putting some of their honey in an entrance feeder. Would this work? Is there something better I could do? I'd really like to see them make it, as this will be the first time any of my hives have made it through the winter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Macoupin,Illinois,USA
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Feeding naturally

    if your going to feed them honey i would feed on top,an entrance feeder will likely draw unwanted,to the hive,if you don't have a hive top feeder you can use a ziplock bag and cut a 1inch slot in it with a razor blade,whats wrong with sugar syrup?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Feeding naturally

    Are you sure they need to be fed? Are they out of stores? Feeding carries the risk of causing robbing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Feeding naturally

    The natural thing to do would be not to artificially stimulate them. Feeding itself is not natural. And the jury is still out on whether or not artificial stimulative feeding works better than a hive which is well supplied in the fall.

    The best stimulant is spring pollen. It's about that time. You're going to be having a pretty nice couple of days. Natural stimulation.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    964

    Default Re: Feeding naturally

    Like QB said,

    If you put honey in an entrance feeder, you will set off a robbing frenzy. This is guaranteed. Have you checked their stores?

    Shane

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Feeding naturally

    I'm in central IL and the maples will be opening up today, you can't be too far off.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: Feeding naturally

    "I was thinking of putting some of their honey in an entrance feeder."

    Honey "naturally" contains some yeast spores. Once you thin the honey with water, the spores will activate and begin to ferment thus producing CO2 and Aocohol.
    The CO2 will increase the pressure in the jar, pushing the liquid out faster.


    Bottom line -- Bad plan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Feeding naturally

    "... as this will be the first time any of my hives have made it through the winter. ..."
    heres my 2 cents worth: learn to keep bees,THEN learn about "natural" and "treatment free" and other variations of beekeeping.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,084

    Default Re: Feeding naturally

    >heres my 2 cents worth: learn to keep bees,THEN learn about "natural" and "treatment free" and other variations of beekeeping.

    And mine would be to start out right and save a lot of rework and trouble...

    If the hive is light then I would feed to avoid them starving. If it's not, I don't see any reason to feed. Feeding has a lot of downsides, not the least of which is setting off robbing when there is nothing blooming.

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Bay City, MI, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Feeding naturally

    Thanks for the replies! I have decided not to feed, especially as the unusual weather we are having is sure to jump start the plants soon.

    As for our bee keeping success, we are very new to bees (3rd season), however after talking to other Michigan beekeepers with 40+ years experince, it is not unusual to have a 40-60% loss in recent years, with some experienced keepers having total losses after doing everything "right". We have chosen to start off in a more "natural" manner due to having young children who consume our honey, as well as seeing that treatment does not equal success. We do anticipate having bee loss, but so far have not experienced a higher percentage than others in the area. Thanks again, Sarah

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