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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Island Pond VT (N.E.K.)
    Posts
    21

    Default What/when is it too cold to feed?

    I read in one of these forums that if you feed too late in the season that it can cause moisture problems over the winter. Any input I live in Northern Burr-mont so it's in the 50's and low 60's.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,956

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    I find the bees won't take much in the way of liquid feed after about October 15th. I've got my final rounds of liquid feed on now.

    It got down to the low 40s last night here, and I expect it to get to the upper 50s today. When I fed it the first part of September the bees took the syrup fast. They have slowed now, and I'm not at all certain they will take all the feed I have given to them. Any they don't take by mid month will get pulled. I'll start wrapping then.

    After that they are on their own until late February when I will check to see how they are doing. If I have done my job they will be fine and have plenty of remaining stores. If they are in danger of starving I will feed slabs of fondant on the top bars, and put a spacer rim around the fondant so that I can get the cover back on.

    Hope this helps!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eldersburg, MD, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    Feed them until they stop taking it. The key word is "stop". Let me explain why: my orange hive I started feeding several weeks ago due to being very light on stores. They were taking it like gangbusters.
    After misjudging the stores of my purple hive I started feeding them (too late I think). I guess the true description would be "I started offering them food." Which they were not taking. That's a problem.
    The difference between these 2 hives got me worried and I looked at the beetle trap I have under the purple hive, I almost cried when I saw all those mites. Dead mites mind you, but mites all the same. Mites everywhere you looked. So now I'm wondering if the mite load is affecting the bees' performance and ability to take the syrup.
    So now I have to go in and see what is keeping them from taking the syrup, are they dying? Are there not enough of them to take the syrup? Without seeing how the one hive was taking the syrup, I would have just thought this purple hive was slower. Now I think it indicates a problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Island Pond VT (N.E.K.)
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    So the moisture issue is my real question!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,805

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    When the colony clusters so it can't get to the feed.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eldersburg, MD, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    Are you worried that they won't cap the syrup and it's the UNCAPPED food that will cause moisture problems?

    I would think it's essentially as Mark said, until they can't get to the food or they aren't taking it. I wonder if candy boards would be better...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    A candy board is a good option if you don't think you can feed them up in time. When they run out of honey, the the bees will be just under the candy, and the surface will be covered in syrup from the condensation on it. Instant food source.

    Some will also drip off onto the bees, but they just eat it, and it mostly drips off the outer part anyway -- they will clean it up off the frames and comb when it's warm enough in the hive for them to move around.

    Best part is no worries about excess water.

    You can put them on after a hard frost, you only need to lift the top and inner cover and pop the board on. Leave an upper entrance for ventilation and you are good for the winter.

    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Island Pond VT (N.E.K.)
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    Sounds good so what do you think is the best/easiest recipe for fondant?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,089

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    Go to mdasplitter.com and you can find one there along with a fountain of other info. http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/newhome.html will surprise me if there is not one here too.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,282

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    usually feeding heavy syrup doesn't cause much trouble
    feeding thin syrup probably would cause more trouble
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Island Pond VT (N.E.K.)
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    I would like to cause no trouble!?!?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: What/when is it too cold to feed?

    In terms of temperature, don't bother feeding syrup (I use 5:3) if it's under 14 C / 57 F.
    It's too cold for them to leave the cluster if its lower (unless in sunshine).

    It also causes a lot of condensation in the hive at these temps.

    Matthew Davey

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