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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Denton,Texas,USA
    Posts
    21

    Default Is it time for Sugar water?

    My farm bees no longer have a nectar or pollen supply. With temps above 100+ everyday, the foliage is drying up. They spend most of the day bearding, and haven't seen a bee bring in pollen on their legs in three weeks. This is a first year package which has done an amazing job until this drought. Should I start feeding?? if so my only way to feed is with an Entrance feeder. This to me will block a big portion of ventilation that is going on due to heat. Comments welcome. Paul

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    Paul- my entrance is at one end. What I did was to drill a1" hole at the opposite end to the entrance, modify a boardman feeder to have a 1" entrance rather than a slot, built a shelf for the feeder to sit on and bridge the gap between the feeder and hive with a length of PVC pipe. All feeding is therefore inside the hive. No interference with air circulation and no fear of robbing. Mike
    Last edited by mhorowit; 08-06-2012 at 05:51 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,372

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    Paul,

    Yes it sounds like it's time to feed. Take your entrance feeder and place it on top of your inner cover near the hole. Put an empty super over it and then your outer cover. Instant top feeder!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,949

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    Sorry Charlie! They do not usually super top bar hives. We put feeder covers on the top bar hive and removed the top bars where the jars are. http://americasbeekeeper.com/USF%20splits.JPG
    Last edited by AmericasBeekeeper; 08-06-2012 at 04:14 AM. Reason: add photo
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,013

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    I started feeding mine two days ago. It is the first time this year they have taken it, finally. They are a swarm that I put in the hive in late may and they still have not filled 11 bars with comb. I am now pushing to get them as built out and ready for winter as I can.

    My top bar has a solid bottom and a screen bottom that both can be removed from the back end. The entrance is on the other end. This makes a convenient slot to fit a modified entrance feeder and not expose it to other bees. I have not had to use it yet as there is still plenty of room to place a feeder inside the hive.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    If they are virtually out of stores I would feed. I would make sure you don't feed anything with a scent. Feeding in a dearth is the worst possible time to feed as it sets off massive robbing so easily. But if they are out of stores you need to feed. Reduce ALL entrances (even the strong). Better to feed the strong hives and steal capped stores from them for the weak ones.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Denton,Texas,USA
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    Now they do have four full bars of capped honey hanging, its not that the hive is empty. They did a great job for spring package bees. Its just that there is nothing left in the area to forage. Most bees are just hanging around, with a few coming and going (probably getting water and scouting). I am starting to feed them sugar/water this week. Any more suggestions are appreciated.
    By the way MB, am enjoying vol II of your book. Thanks, Paul

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    Personally, I could definitely see the need for water but not necessarily sugar water. We got several metal chicken-waterers and put rounded river stones in the trough for the bees to stand on. We placed these in deep shade a little distance from the hives and believe me, it took no time at all for the bees to find them. If they have stores of honey, "that honey's for them now." But keep the water available.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    I wonder if I've been reading the feed/no-feed posts incorrectly. Would you say "Yep" if I said "don't feed until after the last flow, and then only if (in the case of top bars) you don't have 15 bars filled". Which means you have to do an inventory rather than mindlessly feeding or feeding because everyone says we're in a dearth and we should be feeding. - Mike

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    Indeed, many a beekeeper who followed "advice" without first checking the status of his own hives has wounded up the season gathering "honey" that tasted rather suspiciously like . . .

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,074

    Thumbs Up Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    I'm just south of you in there in Denton, near Granbury. Hot as hell this month. Dry as a desert too. I'm using boardman feeders for straight water and they are taking a quart in five days, plus their usual at our bird feeders. There is a small honey flow here along the Brazos river, even a little pollen going in...but pollen reserves are low.

    Feeding a NUC sugar water with vitamin C now. Have gone to a thin sugar content: 1:2, inverted Sugar/water to help cool the hive with the evaporation involved with processing the syrup (13% humidity tonight). Have ordered BeePro to arrive soon. After some reading, I want to be sure the bees enter winter with adequate protein and stored sugar/honey reserves. Looking to get the levels of vitellogenin high enough to make "fat bees".
    Last edited by Lburou; 08-13-2012 at 09:26 PM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,074

    Thumbs Up Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    double post.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenwood, Indiana
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Is it time for Sugar water?

    I have the situation problem of small bee population in one of my two hives, both of which I am now giving 2:1 sugar water. I re-queened them both a couple of weeks ago, so the well-populated hive has lots of newly hatched bees to clean cells and feed the new larvae and keep them warm so that the two-week olds can move on to their new job of forming chains down from my top bar feeder, taking lots of sugar water, and making lots of new comb because two-week-old bees are the ones that make comb before their third week of age when they take over as guards and undertakers taking out the dead bees for a week. The fourth week they become the worker bees and live for up to another month bringing in nectar and pollen for the newly hatched bees to store and/or feed to the newly-laid larva.
    My weak hive is taking a very small amount of sugar water because it's small population of two-week-old bees are having to continue cleaning comb cells and feeding larvae; however, once the next group of nurse bees hatch there will, hopefully, be plenty of them to start cleaning comb and feeding the new larva in the cells; and then the two weekolds can get on with what they are supposed to do, take the nectar and/or sugar water and build comb. I might be very disappointed next week because it's possible there still won't be enough newly hatched to start taking over the job of the ones that are supposed to begin making comb and taking honey from the outside bees and the feeders, but I'm betting that next week I'm going to have to really kick up my making sugar water. BTW Today I'm going to start making my sugar water with the ratio of 5:3, five parts sugar to three parts water as Mike Bush just recently suggested my doing.
    Last edited by Hoosier; 08-14-2012 at 06:40 AM.

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