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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    553

    Default Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    Heard a new theory last night, of feeding to allow bees to build cone then stop so they fill that cone with honey. Could it possibly work that way?

    Do they build out all the cone first and then fill? I would like to see a couple of my hives get a full super before winter (we are still in the flow here but shorter days and cold nights) and they don't seem to be building out cone fast at all. One month after putting a empty super on they've done next to nothing. But I don't want them just filling it up with sugar water either?

    Thoughts on feeding to help build the cone and then no feeding so they fill up with natural honey? thank!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    My experience, first hive 2 June, split to 3 early in Aug., in feeding (1:1 with HBH & Amino B Booster) has shown me that they only build comb when needed for nectar/syrup or brood. So they fill as they go, in my hives anyway. I am building up 3 hives to make it through the winter and my hive one is nearly full now and the two new splits are building. I will get no harvest this year but hope to have three healthy hives ready for Spring flow. April I will also start a TBH or two with package bees. I will stop feeding hive 1 soon and will switch to 2:1 syrup in Nov. or Dec. if needed. I do think that the HBH & Amino B help with missing nutrients not in plain syrup.
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Murray County, Georgia
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    If there's nectar they'll build comb as they need it...usually. Sometimes if they think they have enough for winter (this time of the year) they'll backfill the brood chamber and just stop working. If you feed they're going to store the feed and may draw some comb if you rotate it into the brood nest, otherwise who know?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    Thanks. Would love to hear more replies from long time bee keepers but I am pretty sure they do fill as they go as well and if you feed before there is storage they may use brood comb instead..... ???

  5. #5

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    You can feed if you want, but I find it counterproductive. I believe it takes 8 lbs of honey to make 1 lb of comb. And it takes a lot more nectar to make that honey. I think you'd have to feed them enough (honey) for them to completely fill their storage and feel the need to build more. Feeding them sugar water will make them have to work a lot harder to dry it down to honey, and may actually be detrimental.
    My advice is that you don't push it. If you don't get any honey this year then so be it. Let them overwinter strong and you'll have loads of honey next year!
    If you must though, someone did point out that you can introduce an empty frame in the middle of the brood nest to promote comb building. The bees don't like a hollow space in the brood nest, so they will quickly draw this frame. I've witnessed this in my own hives. If you do this, simply move a frame from the edge of the brood nest up into the super. The brood will hatch and the sells should get filled with honey.
    In the end though, I'd still advise patience. Great things take time, so just be patient, and enjoy some great honey next year!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    Thanks Tom.. Purpose is not to harvest but to encourage them to put away enough for winter to feed themselves. A friend told me the theory of giving sugar water to allow them to build comb but I don't want honey made out of it. I'll just let them continue and evaluate if they need feeding thru the winter in a month or so; flow is still on and they are bringing in lots of pollen, still lots of activity.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    OK, got ya. So then if your goal is to only help them build up, then I wouldn't bother. You can do a simple weight check throughout the winter, and if the boxes start to feel alarming light, then you can start feeding at that time. Just like 'how much honey can you get?' is a million dollar question in beekeeping, so is the question of 'how much honey should I leave on?'. It all depends on the weather.

    Good luck!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    Thanks again Tom. So one more probably stupid question! Do you also weight the brood box since honey should be in there too? Or do you just weight the honey super from beginning of winter towards spring? thanks again!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    syrup is a food source for the bees therefore it gives them the ability to even produce wax. No food no worky!

    Then the resource itself will promote the storage. ie building comb and trying to fill it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,512

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    I feed to get bees to a target weight that means they have enough sugars stored to make it til the bees can sucessfully winter and start building up in the spring. I shook bees off old AFB contaminated equipment onto foundation and am feeding them to achieve that goal and that requires them to build comb which they are doing. I have colonies in all stages of the process. I sure hope it works and I will know in the spring.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,029

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build comb?

    Beeswax is mostly produced by young bees with their bellies full of nectar or sugar syrup (artificial nectar), and nowhere to put it. It works better if they have a nice fecund, young queen (bees build more and better comb when they're queenright). And that there are a great many young bees and space for them to festoon where the comb is to be built.

    In Novato, California, you may not need to worry much, if at all, about stores for Winter. My understanding is that nectar/pollen sources are available in your area year-'round. It's the same around here, except here, it's also dependent on irregular and infrequent rainfall. I don't think you're gonna have the same rainfall issues.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 09-18-2012 at 11:56 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    835

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    Vance,

    Are you feeding 1:1 or 2:1 to get the comb built now? Does syrup strength make a difference when you want them to build comb in early fall?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaBees View Post
    Thanks again Tom. So one more probably stupid question! Do you also weight the brood box since honey should be in there too? Or do you just weight the honey super from beginning of winter towards spring? thanks again!
    I haven't done either...I just know you can. But yes, I will this fall do a simple lift test on both the honey supers and brood box. You'll learn with time what the weight of a box should be, based on if it is mostly honey, mostly brood, etc. Brood is surprising light, and honey is God awful heavy. But Joseph Clemens makes a good point. I'm in Houston, TX, and after an exceptionally warm winter last year, I don't really know what to expect with the bees' needs to overwinter. I think there is almost always something blooming down here as well. As long as the weather is fair (above 60 degrees F) you can inspect the hive and check to see how much honey the have. If you find your super drained, then it's probably good to offer feed and see if they'll take it. They'll only take it if they think the need it, so don't feel bad if they don't take it.

    Good luck!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Morgan County, Indiana
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    What does a R&B band have to do with bees building cone?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,252

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    I think we have our bee's building comb not a cone. If they only built a cone then that would not be a productive hive.

    I guess it could be a honey ice cream cone.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeycomb

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    Bees build comb when they NEED comb. Feeding creates the need only if all of their comb is already full. Otherwise they will just fill it with syrup. When they do draw comb they will fill it is they draw it, so it will, of course, be full of syrup if you are feeding syrup to create that need to draw comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    553

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    Thank you Michael, you are always so helpful, I appreciate it.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    Michael:
    Is it true that they will often fill up any and all available comb with syrup, so much that the queen has no cells left in which to lay?

    Sondra

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Do any of you feed to help them build cone?

    >Is it true that they will often fill up any and all available comb with syrup, so much that the queen has no cells left in which to lay?

    This seems to happen more when feeding and I think it's because feeding bypasses the normal feedback mechanisms that rely on field bees handing off to house bees and recruiters recruiting foragers when they are needed and not when they are not needed. With a feeder a lot of that mechanism is bypassed and they often backfill every cell, yes.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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