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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Waterboro, Maine
    Posts
    73

    Default Light hive not taking syrup

    I'm a first year beek and have a hive that I've been feeding since about mid-September. I had some swarming issues over the summer and was left with a pretty light hive with limited stores. Initially the bees were taking the sugar syrup, but for the last week they haven't really taken anything. Last weekend I started treating for mites using Api-Life Var. I'm not sure if this is related, but ever since I started the mite treatment the bees have shown little interest in the syrup. I've also been using honey-b-healthy as a feeding stimulant. There are plenty of bees running around all over the feeder jars (I'm using mason jars above the top cover) but they just aren't taking the syrup. Temps for the past two weeks have been down in the 40's with daily highs in the mid 50's to low 60's.

    Any ideas on how I can get the bees to take some more syrup? The hive still seems light and I'd like them to take another gallon or so if possible. Should I stop mite treatments and see if they start feeding again? I've noticed a pretty significant mite drop so I'm guessing the mite population has taken a pretty significant hit. I'm just worries the bees won't have enough stores to get through the winter.

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

    Default Re: Light hive not taking syrup

    likely the syrup is too cold. time to switch to granular sugar AKA MountainCamp Method.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Waterboro, Maine
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Light hive not taking syrup

    Thanks. I might have to go that route.

    Would warming the syrup help at all?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,436

    Default Re: Light hive not taking syrup

    Bees go off syrup during a Thymol treatment.
    Api-Life Var is Thymol right? So many treatments right now with pretty much the same sounding name...
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Waterboro, Maine
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Light hive not taking syrup

    Yes, it's Thymol.

    What do you guys think? Would my best bet be to stop treatment temporarily and see if they take on more syrup?

    I'm quickly learning there are few easy answers when it comes to beekeeping.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,130

    Default Re: Light hive not taking syrup

    My bees are still taking syrup. our days are still getting into the 70's. I am noticing a slow down in the rate they consume the syrup though. It is only slight but I can tell. On cooler days such as yesterday where it was rainy and cool all morning they really dropped off. I am still trying to get one last half gallon of syrup in the hive but can tell time is drawing short.

    Our nights drop down into the 40's so I have a situation where they will ignore the syrup and then start taking it again when it warms up. Having watched that my bet is your temps never really get high enough for the bees to take it.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,436

    Default Re: Light hive not taking syrup

    Ya cooler days will slow syrup consumption also.

    now, 71Corvette, if thats IS your real name,

    the answer to your question depends on a few factors.

    #1 are you actually treating for mites, or just treating? If you have no mites, then dont treat, if you have might loads over a threshold of some kind, keep the treatment going.

    #2 is you hive light? If so I would concentrate on feeding and make sure they will not starve. Starvation will kill your hive just as diseases can. But starvation is easier to avoid.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Waterboro, Maine
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Light hive not taking syrup

    Thanks Ian.

    I've been treating specifically to address a high mite load. I've been amazed at the number of mites that have dropped onto the bottom board in the past week - wow!

    The hive is pretty light. Light enough that I wonder if the bees will have enough stores to get through the winter. I think I may try pulling the mite treatment and warming the syrup to see what happens. If nothing else maybe I'll learn something in the process...

    Thanks
    71Corvette a.k.a. Tim

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,436

    Default Re: Light hive not taking syrup

    warming syrup might help but its really the temp outside and how tight the cluster is that actually determines feed up take. If they are flying, they should be able to take in syrup
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,060

    Default Re: Light hive not taking syrup

    A hive I have been feeding quit taking syrup as we have had nights below freezing and barely above 50 days. I made some fondant and they are still chowing on that. It is on top of frames and available to them from underneath. I have filled two empty frames with fondant and will use them to replace two drawn out but empty frames in the top box. That is 20 pounds or more honey equivalent that is down in the box with the bees. I boiled to 240F and it was too soft. 250 seems about right but may vary with your elevation and thermometer. I put some lemongrass drops in it just before it stiffened up and the girls like it
    !

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