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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    greenville s.c. USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    I am definately a "newbie", I purchase two ten frame hives 2 1/2 weeks ago, I checked them this past weekend and they are still on the same original five frames. "Minimal" if any drawing out of the adjoining frames. I placed them on timber propery I own that has several acres of clover (planted for deer).

    I live in South Carolina and the weather has been upper 80's to mid nineties from the first day I placed them. I have two large creeks nearby so I do not think water is a problem.
    I have ordered some basic & beginning bee keeping books and video's but have not received them as yet.

    A lot of flying in and out of the hives by the bees (they seem active to me), but I would have thought they would be expanding onto adjoining frames by now.

    Is it ok to feed them in the summer? I see articles that mention feeding in the early spring, late fall & winter, but nothing on feeding in summer months?

    Should I try and feed them now? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    I suggest feeding, but don't give them a big load. If they take it, give them more. Mine don't take feed when nectar is available and I recently read they don't access liquid feeders below 50 degrees F.

    The traffic you see may be deceiving if you're in a dearth. During July and August here in SE PA they can starve. Since they won't build up without food, numbers may be too small to stock stores during the fall bloom or over winter.

    Better to help them stock up before they need the stores.
    Last edited by throrope; 06-15-2012 at 10:58 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    greenville s.c. USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    Thanks for the quick reply, hate to ask a dumb question but you mention bees in a dearth...what does that mean?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    That one threw me the first time too. Dearth describes when nothing is blooming and no nectar is available to forage. Here in SE PA it routinely occurs in July and August, also a traditionally dry spell. My first hive first year near starved. I fed just in time, they survived winter and over the years gave a dozen colonies through swarms and splits.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    A dearth is when there is very little nectar available (or pollen, for that matter) and the bees are living off what they have stored.

    If it's quite hot, they will be busy hauling water to cool the hive, but likely if you have a constant heavey stream of bees flying in and out, they are collecting nectar like crazy from something.

    Feed until you have your winter configuration fully drawn and full of stores, whatever size of over-wintering system you use. You may only need one deep and a medium, but locally we usually have two deeps. A single deep will work in mild winters, but it's impossible to tell ahead of time. You can stop feeding if they are obviously packing in honey or refuse to take the syrup, as they sometimes will.

    Stop feeding on very heavy flows or when you get all your wintering boxes full and see what happens. Later in September you will need to check to make sure they have enough honey for winter, and if not you will need to feed 2:1 syrup until they have enough stores and have back filled the brood nest.

    The only problem you will have if you feed more than necessary is possibly feeding them into swarming. You can avoid that by checking every week to see how the hive is doing on stores, and taking away the feed once they have enough comb drawn.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    greenville s.c. USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    Thanks guys for the "insight" I have ordered some basic bee keeping books but have yet to receive them. This is all new to me but I am very excited about having bees. I plan on going to a bee keeper meeting next week in my area. This seemed like the best place to get information i.e. from "real" bee keepers. I have spent several hours reading various posts on the forums here, just trying to get some basic "info". Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    What is the best form of feeding the bees during a July/August dearth? Sugar syrup is not recommended when honey supers are on, which I assume I will have on my hives by then? Protein patties? Thanks, juzzerbee

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    I don't feed when honey super are on. My harvest ends with June and IMHO they need the fall forage. I wish my girls made as much as I see here from those south and west of us and near produce farms.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    686

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    I'd feed them until a week or so before you plan to add honey supers. They will move syrup around in the hive and its best if they don't move it to the honey super. Keep an eye on them filling the brood cells with sugar syrup and stop feeding if they filling the brood area cells with syrup.

    You need to do some manipulation to get the hive to expand the five frames. Keep two drawn/brood frames together and then insert an undrawn frame. Then place two more drawn/brood frames and insert a second undrawn frame. Spray the undrwan frames with sugar syrup. Keep doing this periodically until the first brood super is 80% drawn frames.

    Then move brood frames to second brood super when you add it and intersperse an undrawn frame between pairs of drawn/brood frames.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    Did you buy hives that were so-called "nucleus" (or "nuc") hives ... that is to say, "fully up-and-running" at the time you bought them, vs. a package? Dramatic changes may or may not take place in 2-1/2 weeks' time; it all depends. Personally, I'm not keen about feeding hives a lot of sugar-water, so to speak in an effort to make them get big fast. I'd be much more inclined to wait another couple of weeks and then observe again.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    jknight, make sure you do like mgolden says and place the empty frames inbetween the drawn out ones. If you do that and feed 1:1 syrup your bees will draw them out. I live in SC also and I am currently feeding this years packages, and they are drawinging out frames. Watch out for SHB, and I wouldnt worry to much about getting honey supers on this year.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    If the 10th frame is not drawn out at all in the deep, do I take the 9th which is full of capped honey, and swap them?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,639

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    rl, yes that is how i would do it.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    You purchased two ten frame hives, and they haven't drawn out the other five frames yet? So the bees are on five frames of comb, the other five frames are foundation?

    In your neighborhood, do most beekeepers winter in two, ten-frame deep brood boxes? If so, by not feeding, you're holding the bees back, in my opinion. What honey coming in is going into maintenance, as they try to stay alive. In a dearth, things may be blooming, but if you're in a drought, there usually isn't any nectar in the blooms. So the presence of blooms can be deceiving. I would suggest, if you have one, put a hive top feeder on, and put a gallon of syrup in. First, inspect the hive, note the condition of the colony - brood area, undrawn frames, etc etc... stored/sealed honey/syrup. Check it every 2 days (nice thing about hive top feeders is you can check them without disturbing the hive), and see what the consumption is. About a week after your pre-feed inspection, check the hive again, and compare your notes. Depending on what you find, you may want to put two gallons of syrup in, and add your second brood box. You want to stimulate their comb building, and egg laying, to get them nice and strong for winter. A strong colony going into winter will be a productive colony next spring.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  16. #16

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    Bees make comb during a natural nectar flow. If you supplement that nectar with sugar syrup it will help them build their nest more quickly. If they haven’t finished that nest by the end of the nectar flow they probably won’t until next spring. My nectar flow has pretty much ended and if you are in Greenville, SC, yours probably has too.
    Those 2 ˝ week old five frame nucs will likely go into winter as 5 frame hives. You can expect to feed them for the remainder of the summer, next fall and overwinter. In addition you can overfeed them. Since they are no longer drawing new comb they must find somewhere to store that syrup. They will fill every available cell in every comb including any empty brood cells, eventually becoming honey bound. You have a challenging 8 months ahead.
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Should I feed new bee's in summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Bees make comb during a natural nectar flow. If you supplement that nectar with sugar syrup it will help them build their nest more quickly. If they haven’t finished that nest by the end of the nectar flow they probably won’t until next spring.
    BMD, are you saying bees won't pull comb if the nectar flow is over even if you are feeding them?
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

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