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Thread: Winter Feeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Pierce/Thurson County, Wa
    Posts
    186

    Default Winter Feeding

    Okay, I have heard about fondant, candy boards, pollen patties, and syrup.

    Fondant is basically stirred up thick syrup. Do people put things in them besides sugar?

    Do candy boards contain anything other than sugar?

    I am afraid to buy pollen patties because I do not want to catch anything from another set of bees. Is there a way to make them on my own, not using pollen or anything I am allergic to (like soy)?

    I hear that syrup is not enough for winter because they may not be able to get to it and keep warm.

    What can I do to feed my bees over the winter?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,256

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    Feed your bees nothing over winter. Feed them all the syrup they need by October 15.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Northampton, MA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Feed your bees nothing over winter. Feed them all the syrup they need by October 15.
    Ditto. Feeding in the winter means you made a mistake earlier.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Pierce/Thurson County, Wa
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    That will last them until late April/early May? (The first time of the year it gets above 50 for two days in a row)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,256

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    No, maybe not. But by early spring you can supplenernt their feed with fondant, candy, or syrup if they can fly occasionally.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    Like Mike Palmer and Taxonomy said. Nothing in the winter! I teach this; start your spring feeding on September 15th and finish by Columbus Day. Buy the way, nevermind baggies, boardman feeders, and remote exterior feeders, THEY ARE USELESS! Get a good division board feeder or large feeder jars on top of the hive. It is better to enclose feeder jars in an empty hive body to protect from robbing. Emergency winter feeding means you did not do a good job of feeding in the Fall. Here in Ct, we like to see a full deep plus the equivilant of two or three full frames of food in the lower box for the winter. The key is to start feeding early enough for the bees to store and invert the sugars before it gets cold.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Northampton, MA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    Buy Diane Summataro's Beekeepers Handbook 4th Edition

    Internet forums are a poor way of understanding systemic questions like yours. Bees should be producing a surplus of honey and we take the extra. In exchange we give them ideal conditions.
    They keep bees in Siberia, which is a might colder than where you are and I don't think they're taking the lids off to feed in -50 F to fed.

    Sit down and read a whole book. Try and understand the big picture and not all the fragments like answers to these questions are. Better yet join you local club and talk to people that keep bees around you and have for years. Get to know them and see if they are successful with methods. Evaluate a person you know rather than someone that has a lot of time on their hands to post to internet forums.


    For what it's worth I use Brushy Mountains top feeders when I feed but that's not really the answer here. Take the time to invest in reading at least one but preferable several books on basic beekeeping. Stay with conventional books before you move off into alternative books. Good Simple books the Beekpers Handbook or something by Richard Bonney.

    Beekeeping is not a series of answers to questions.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    Feeding in winter means they were not ready in the fall.

    Some sort of enclosed hive-top feeder or division feeder is by far the best, for two reasons -- little or no robbing and you can feed them fast enough to force them to store it.

    As noted, you must do this before october -- I didn't last year and lost the hive in the spring. If the hive is light, pour the 2:1 syrup to them with a large capacity feeder in September.

    If for some reason you think they may still not have enough honey/syrup to last until spring, a candy board is fairly cheap insurance. It can be just sugar, or you can add some protein supplement, either will work. It's also possible to put one on in the middle of winter on a warm day, but it's far better to make them up in the fall and install them by November. A 3" deep box will hold 20 lbs of sugar. Leave a notch for an upper entrance and if the bees run out of honey they can cluster right under the board -- condensation around the edges will produce syrup there, works great.

    Dry sugar either inside the hive or on top of the inner cover will work too, but you should only feed in a real emergency -- that is to say, only if the hive cannot make it without the extra. The critical time is actually February and March here, since that's when spring brood rearing starts. Shortage of stores at this point results in the bees starving to death before there is enough nectar available, exacerbated by low bee numbers to forage.

    Feed them up in the fall and you can sleep easy all winter, knowing they are in good shape. A pollen patty (or plain substitute) is also a good idea in September -- they store much of the protein needed to raise the first rounds of spring brood as internal protein bodies, and you need very well fed winter bees to make strong bees in the spring.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    Could someone show a photo of a candy board? I don't quite understand how they work or what they look like.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Folsom, LA
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by LeonardS View Post
    Could someone show a photo of a candy board? I don't quite understand how they work or what they look like.
    http://homesteadrules.com/diy-candy-board-for-bees/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Winter Feeding

    Thank you HoneyChild!!

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