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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    599

    Default Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    I have a very weak hive that has been struggling all summer. I have condensed it down to one 10 frame deep, put entrance reducer down to small, and been feeding 1:1 sugar out of the top. I have ditched the screen bottom board for a solid and the colony has been bug and mite free for several weeks.

    The drought in August caused the queen to shut down. Since the first week of Sept, she has been producing brood and my bees are restocking. Pollen flights are coming in, but no capped honey has been make. There is less than 1 frame of capped honey, some frames with raw honey and pollen, and 2 brood frames.

    What do I need to feed or supplement this one with to get it thru the winter?

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

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    Keep feeding syrup till daytime temps fall to 50degrees then switch to dry sugar on a single sheet of paper laid on the top frames AKA MountainCamp Method put up a windbreak and hope for the best.
    Good Luck, Mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
    Posts
    833

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    If you wrap Styrofoam around and some under the inner cover, it keep them warm, and they saving lots of energy during winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    JMO, I would go with 2:1. Less for them to process and moisture with cool temps is not the best environment. Time is not on your side either I wouldn't think. I used roofing paper around the hives last winter. The black on the sun really warmed them up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    599

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    Time is short, the first widespread frost is coming Sunday nite.

    My next batch of syrup will be 2:1. They have not been working the 1:1 much lately any way. Fall greened up, we had more rain in Sept that we did from May 15 thru the end of Aug. But they were so low on numbers, they did not make much of the fall flow. They did go to making new brood and I have the first young bees filling the hive in quite some time.

    I was wondering about feeding them something else to get them to store it in the hive for the cluster. Some kind of patty or something.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West St. Paul, MN, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    jdmidwest - It sounds like our situations are similar. I have one deep, capped and raw honey, and still have some brood on the way. I have been feeding 2:1 for the last three weeks along with a pollen patty. I think I have at least another weeks worth of time to keep feeding syrup, but like Mike Haney said, I am thinking of switching to raw sugar on paper, or possibly making up fondant (sugar candy). If I make up fondant I am debating whether to put it along the tops of the frames, or to coat an empty frame with it - I might do both to see what they prefer. I will also bee insulating with a foam jacket, and wrapping them up in black roofing paper.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    WHy don't you both do an inframe feeder. Just rip a 2X4 into 1.5 inch think frame pieces and constructs a pseudoframe. Boil 4 parts sugar to 1 part water with some vinegar to make oatmeal consistency mass and pour it into the frame. Use seram wrap on the bottom to keep the sugar from leaking. I think the mixture needs to reach 275F. Once sugar hardens, tHe frame can go next to the cluster and they'll feed on it when a need arises. No need for extra open space to heat, no moisture problems or any extra preparations. Goes in flawlessly and they actually do use it. I've tried it with two hives and it works.

    http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekee...gency-feeding/

    My only improvement would be to maybe place a jar in the middle of the frame as you pour the mixture, so that there is a hole there when the sugar dries and you take the jar out. THat way the bees will eat the frame from inside out, rather than from the edges toward the middle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,124

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    AramF; good thoughts on the hole through the fondant! I put three wraps of foundation wiring around to keep mine in place in the frame. The bees are sure working it as well as bricks of fondant on top of the frames. The first attempt I boiled to 240 F. and it was a bit too soft. I reboiled to 250 F. and it seems about right. Any place in the hive you have empty frames can sure take a load of sugar in that form. I wonder if dry sugar could be shaken into empty comb cells?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,935

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    hey jd.

    i'm a little south of you, but mine have a fair amount of uncapped honey as well. the good thing is that there is lots of it. those boxes are nice and heavy with stores.

    sounds like you are bascially overwintering a large nuc in a single deep with all drawn comb. this is what i would do, based on the experience i had last winter. i had five single deep hives, they were even smaller than yours.

    first, find out how many pounds the hive weighs, and this will give you an idea of how many pounds of stores you are short. scaling up to 10 frames from my smaller nucs, i would probably shoot for about 70 lbs total for ten frames, (but ask locals what weight they would recommend).

    michael palmer recommended to me to have at least half, and a little more than half don't hurt, in stores. the other half, or slightly less than half, should be left as open comb to help clustering.

    so, find out if you need to feed in the first place, and then feed only as much as necessary to get to target.
    while it's still warm, i would use 2:1, with 1000 mg vitamin c per gallon and nothing else added. when it gets so cold that the syrup stays cold all day, the feeder needs to come off.

    after that, they are probably not going to starve for a long time, even if they are short. they really don't use a whole lot in the winter. you can weigh the hive from time to time to get an idea of how much they are using their stores.

    i agree with insulation, it will make them have to work less and therefore use less stores. i like to make sure my top is insulated and ventilated just a little, to avoid any chance of the 'ceiling' of the hive getting cold enough for water to condense on it and dripping on the bees.

    keep in mind, that syrup is not as nutritous as honey. it's like you or me trying to live all winter on soda pop. healthy gut chemistry of the bee depends on the nutrients in their honey. their immunity to disease is better if they get more than just sugar. that is why i would donate honey from another hive, but if i couldn't, i would use sugar to prevent starvation.

    as far as feeding sugar when it's cold, what i found easiest was 10:1, (still using only vitamin c), which makes a damp paste that you can work into a patty or whatever you want. i put a 3 inch or so strip of plastic sheet around the top of the frames, leaving the middle open, and then put the paste on that. an empty super goes above the deep with the notched inner cover next, and then the insulated top.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    Dry sugar in the frames does not work. Dry pollen in the frames works very well. Dry sugar they treat as garbage and carry it out, otherwise that would be a great method. Even if you decided to put it in and wet it, you would need to add too much water, so it will be a condensation nightmare. If you put too little water, it will crystalize and they'll carry it out of the hive. Boiling the sugar makes it a hard candy which is cohesive rather than granular, pluse it is low in water content so it will act as condensation sponge.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Newark, NY
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    I have a week hive, very week, any suggestions, plan on wrapping with tar paper, I put 1/2 gallon of sugar water (1 to 1) and it was gone the next day. Do they need that much?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    You do not give location, but that fast indicates they need more or a leak and running through. 1 to 1 is too waek for this late.
    Greetings.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    624

    Default Re: Very Weak Hive Going Into Winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick 1456 View Post
    JMO, I would go with 2:1. Less for them to process and moisture with cool temps is not the best environment. Time is not on your side either I wouldn't think. I used roofing paper around the hives last winter. The black on the sun really warmed them up.
    I agree with Rick regarding using 2:1 instead of 1:1. If you have empty drawn comb, they might fill the cells back. I had a deep with empty drawn cells (the queen moved upstairs), at the beginning of Sept., and started feeding heavy 2:1. By the second week in Oct. the frames were 80% full of the sugar water. We have been in a dearth since late June this year.

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