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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Danielsville, PA USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Bees not taking syrup?

    I've got 2 hives here in PA. I'd been feeding my hives in the early fall, and both were sucking down syrup at a pretty good pace. I filled both feeders with syrup 2 weeks ago. In the meantime, the weather has cooled off and we had the Sandy storm come through, so I'm sure they were closed up inside for much of that time. Made another batch of syrup today and went out to add it to the feeders -- and found that the feeders in both hives have barely been touched. Should I be concerned about this? There is bee activity in both hives (coming and going at the entrance).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    What type of feeder are you using? Might be because of the cool weather, if the syrup gets below 50 degrees they won't take it. John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    They might have no place to put it. Sounds like time to pull the feeders.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Danielsville, PA USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    I have top feeders on both hives. I haven't been into the hives in a few weeks (not any easier now that i've got feeders full of syrup on top), but last time I was in there I had plenty of frames for them to start drawing comb on. Will they stop making comb at this time of year?

    We're having a few days above 50, so I guess I'll check again next weekend and pull the feeders if they aren't getting into the syrup.

    This is my 3rd year, and I really want the bees to make it through the winter. Hasn't happened for me yet. Both colonies seemed pretty strong all summer. I'm paranoid because I lost my hives the past 2 years in a row.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    Bees really slow down on comb building in the fall. What configuration are they in (two deeps? etc) and how much honey did they have stored the last time you looked? Curious why you still have frames that don't have drawn comb this late in the season. I winter in two deeps and a medium and made sure all my hives weighed 150 lbs before putting them away for winter.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    No comb drawing at this time of year, so they might be out of room to put the syrup. Sorry to hear about your winter losses, do you have any idea what caused them to not make it? I hope they make it for you this winter, its a great feeling to see them come through into spring and build up into a honey making machine!

    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Danielsville, PA USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    I've got a pile of supers on both hives (pic attached of hives from about a month ago, config is the same as now). Top 1 or 2 supers on each are either new or only partly drawn. When I put them on in early fall I was hoping bees would fill them up. I didn't take any honey off the hives because I didn't want to take any chances of another starve out.

    It was (is) my plan to pull off any empty supers within the next week or two prior to closing hives up for the winter. I don't know what the hives weigh, but they are both pretty darn heavy. I was concerned about them during the big winds from Sandy but they didn't budge.

    hives.JPG

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    Its getting kind of late to do extensive hive manipulations now with it being November, I would wait for the next nice day, like maybe tomorrow, and take off any boxes that don't have any honey at all or very little in them. Its good to hear that the hives are heavy, hopefully its because of honey and not because there are so many empty boxes on them.

    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    874

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    Thats alot of honey to overwinter if the only boxes that arent full, are the two top ones.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    Today is a good day to take off empties and get em ready for winter.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Bees not taking syrup?

    Bees won't take syrup if the syrup is below 50. So, it takes a high temp enough above the low to bring the syrup up to 50 for the bees to take it. I think it is too late for hive top feeders at least it is in WI. My bees have even pretty much stopped taking from the baggies inside the hive. If your bees have honey in all those supers, they are more than set for winter. In WI most people over winter in 4 mediums. You can take the top empty boxes off now and get em ready for winter. Taking the top boxes off even on a cold day shouldn't affect the cluster as they will be huddle further down in the hive.
    Last edited by T0ADMAN; 11-11-2012 at 08:08 AM. Reason: Correction

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