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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Fountain County, Indiana
    Posts
    214

    Default How to budget for feed

    I'm working on a budget for next year and I have a few questions about feeding. I have 10 hives that I want to help build up in the spring, then use those hives to make 30 nucs throughout the late spring/early summer. I have some drawn comb but I also want them to draw out as much wax as possible this year. I know that the amount of syrup a hive will take varies depending on the weather and the hive situation, I'm just looking for a good ballpark so I know if I'm looking at $500 vs $5000 in fees costs to determine if I can afford to expand this much in one year.

    How much 1:1 or diluted HFCS and pollen sub does it generally take to get a hive built up in the spring? How much should I expect to feed each nuc until they are on their own? How much 2:1 or HFCS do you generally feed to top off your hives for winter?

    There has to be something wrong with my numbers because What I'm coming up with shows HFCS as costing twice as much as the sugar syrup.

    ( I can pick up 4 55 gallon drums of syrup at a time for $270 each. Sugar I get at Walmart $12 for 25 pound bags. That's the cheapest I've found in my limited searching)

    I don't have a storage tank and pumps for truck deliveries of HFCS but I can get that done if I can show its cost effective to the home boss.
    Thanks in advance!
    Indiana, 3rd year, 10 hives, www.facebook.com/RussellHoneybees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    4,164

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    Honestly, I would never feed for a spring build up unless it's warm early with nothing blooming. You can calculate this way, 25lbs into a 5 gallon bucket, filled to the 5g mark is just about perfect 1:1 by weight, so does 5 gallons of HFCS cost $12? That drum of syrup is costing you twice that if my math is correct. Did you have to feed this year, that's the important question, and for 30 nucs and 10 hives, you really don't need to think about a tank and pump for feeding unless you think you'll be going through 100 gallons a week or something.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Fountain County, Indiana
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    I'm feeding to build them up early for lots of splitting

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Fountain County, Indiana
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    And I thought HFCS was supposed to be so much cheaper than sugar. I think that is what has me confused about this budget.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    Is HFCS the same as 1:1 or is it more concentrated?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Fountain County, Indiana
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    It's like 2:1 I believe. You dilute it in spring.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    937

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    HFCS is 77% solid. 270 a drum is expensive for hfcs. You will get better build up on 1:1 sugar.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Fountain County, Indiana
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    It must only be cheaper by the truckload. Sugar syrup looks like the way to go for now. I'd better start a workout routine. That's a lot of mixing and carrying.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    2,033

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    It all depends upon what you want your final outcome to be when you go into winter. However, it also depends upon when, what you use, and how strong you make those nuc's. For instance, if your plan is to allow those nuc's to make their own queens, after splitting them at 3 deep frames each, with no extra drawn comb, and done in say april, your looking at a totally different outcome than if you were to use already mated queens, or nuc's with all drawn comb.

    So here's what I do myself when dealing with my budget for feed. I plan for worse case scenario, and pray for the best with leftovers at the end for the next season. I manage my hives till I split them down into single 8 framers by the end of the year with queens that have already been mated. This occurs for me around July. Then I manage for swarming and make 5 frame nuc's for overwintering as well using more mated queens produced here. At the end of our season, if the goldenrod does anything, and the knotweed has produced, I end up feeding maybe 15 pounds each. However, my budget always has me ready to have to feed 50 pounds to the 8 framers, and 30 to the NUC's. I forgot to mention, at the start of each season, I decide how much "Expansion" that I want to do that year. This next season, I'll go from 26, to about 75.
    Thomas Bartram

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Fountain County, Indiana
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    The worst case scenario number help, thanks. I'm going to be giving the nucs queen cells

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    2,033

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    Using queen cells is only one part of the equation in your plan. That tells you that it will take about a month for that nuc to be ready to start drawing extra comb. Queenless bees, or hives with virgins in my experience doesn't seem to draw much comb.

    How many frames are you going to give each nuc? What time of year will you split? Will you split the main hives down to nuc's as well or split off just a couple at a time and allow the main hive to build back up? What's your nectar flows like there, heavy/light? All of those things can affect your plans and should be taken into consideration. A well thought plan will help to minimize failures and increase success of the hives. Something else you need to work into those plans is feeding of SUB. If you have a pollen dearth, and most of us do in summer, you will need good nutrition to keep the bees cranking along. I usually plan for about 3 pounds per hive so that I know I've got well fed winter bees. Also don't forget your mite treatments, they need to be in your budget as well.

    Once you have your plan in place, then figure out the amount of sugar you will need. Knowing where you want to be at the end of the season is key though, then change the plan to make it work out the way you want it to.
    Thomas Bartram

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    5,719

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    Quote Originally Posted by cheryl1 View Post
    The worst case scenario number help, thanks. I'm going to be giving the nucs queen cells
    You haven't talked dates here but I'm thinking you can do a lot of what you are proposing on a natural honey flow. Early cells in your area, I would think would be around the time (late April too early May) that you might catch a dandelion flow and perhaps clover by mid June . Is there locust in your area? Also, when using cells, remember if there isn't an actively laying queen, feed demands are much lower.
    My experience is that feed costs can be difficult to project with so many weather and seasonal bloom variables.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    As Jim wrote, feed costs can be very difficult to project. April can be tricky in our area most years, but once you get into May, weather is normally more in your favor to making splits, but it all depends on the year. Mixing your own sucrose syrup may be the best approach initially. As for calculating costs, a five frame nuc packed solid with honey/sugar syrup should contain about 25-30 pounds of solids, add A LOT of cushion and assume little nectar flow and guess at maybe 50# of dry sucrose per nuc... Always plan for a worst case scenario and hopefully be pleasantly surprised. A 50# bag of sucrose is about $20 at Costco so... $20 x 30 nucs comes out to $600.

    IMO, feed will be the easy part, getting nucs made, comb drawn, cells raised and queens mated will be the hard part. Just make sure you are set up to feed the nucs efficiently.
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Miami, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    7,877

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    Buying the bag sugar is your best option here, you need very little sugar, bag sugar keeps whereas HFSC does not.
    As for what you need...I could tell you what I use seasonally but that info is not relevant.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    4,164

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    JSL hit a point I was thinking about mentioning, I would really prioritize equipment and setting it up so you can feed efficiently. Hivetop feeders work very well for nucs. Don't get me wrong, frame feeders are good too, but you have to open the hives and they take up a frame space and in a nuc, frame space is very valuable. I build mine via FatBeeMan design, but have tweaked it a little to be more efficient but the bees use them very well, no drowning and you don't have to open the hive to feed and it acts as a great cover since it sits more like an inner cover than an ordinary migratory top design which is the most common with nucs. For 1:1, you really don't need to mix it. Warm water poured into the bucket will dissolve all sugar if done the day before, 2:1 is where you will probably have to do some mixing and heating and I know 5:3 was becoming more popular as it's easier to go into solution and just as effective. Also, I don't think there is a faster spring build up with feeding if your natural flows are ok, even in my area which is mediocre in spring, I don't see feeding building them up any quicker than they naturally do, but the trick would be a late winter feeding to get them building up earlier.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,519

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    Cheryl1, a good keeper once told me " let the bees run the check book, don't let the check book run the bees" some of the best advise I ever got.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Fountain County, Indiana
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    The bees might do well with that but a business lives or dies with its bottom line

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,519

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    Well, I'm livin pretty good, so are the bees.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    oroville california usa
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    Quote Originally Posted by cheryl1 View Post
    The bees might do well with that but a business lives or dies with its bottom line
    No bees no business or weak hives are worthless for splitting pollination or honey production

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Fountain County, Indiana
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: How to budget for feed

    Agreed, but the purpose of a working budget is to expand in a way that allows for each hive to have the equipment and feed that it needs to be its best. I could maybe make 100 splits, but if I can't house them or feed them then I've wasted resources.

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