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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    503

    Default Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    Hi, I'm curious if a little 2 to 1 syrup will hurt the bees this time of year.
    It was 50 yesterday so I checked on some of the smaller hives. I gave them a mason jar of syrup figuring that they could use it.
    They have been flying a bunch the past few weeks.
    They came up to see what was up and perked up at the sight of the syrup.
    I put it off center of the hole in the inner cover on little 1/4 inch shims so if it dripped it would drip on the inner cover not on the bees.
    It was 48 today here but will be high of 40s the next week

    I won't feed them again for the rest of the year aside from perhaps some dry sugar up top.
    I just wanted to give them a little something incase they could use it.

    I'm not sure if the bees maintain any open nectar when it is cold out or if they only eat the capped honey.

    Does it take alot of feeding syrup in cold to cause problems or does even a little do it?

    Thanks, VW

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,452

    Default Re: Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    if the hive is light, then feed. shouldnt cause any trouble unless your feed them a lot, then your going to run into moisture problems within the hive,
    but if its coolish, the bees will not take much anyway
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    Thank you Ian. I had some little hives that I got fairly well fed at the end of the season and they seem really healthy but they were from cells that came after the main flow so they were at a disadvantage to get their stores completed. I fed them a good bit in the fall and they created comb and capped a deep or close to it before the fall was over. They were good enough that I figured they will make it but I am a bit concerned that they could burn through their stores. I Kind of missed them the past few weeks cause I have been leaving them alone although I watched them fly on the warm days a few times. I just got this feeling like I should give them some nectar. It was like instinct took over and I started mixing some 2 to 1 for them. After I put it in yesterday I second guessed myself even though it seemed ok.

    You are further north than I am so I would imagine you have a good bit of experience in raising bees in cold climates. I really appreciate you taking the time and I'm glad the decision shouldn't cause issues Do you feed small amounts of syrup sometimes in winter? In the spring and summer they always seemed to have some cells full of uncapped honey around the main area that the brood and bees were. Do they continue having some uncapped honey in the middle area where they cluster in the winter?

    Thanks, VW
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    Interesting. I have a small rescued hive in a NUC I also have been worried over and have looked into winter feeding to try and get them through the winter. Our weather down here is doing the roller coaster on temperatures. We got up to 80 yesterday and it is suppose to drop to the high 30's tonight. In the NUC have a quart Mason jar in the lid, hole with screen, and have been feeding 1:1 with HBH & Amino B Booster. While my other new hives (top feeders, FBM type), from a spit in Aug. have been taking 2 qts. every 1-2 days, my main donor hive has taken very little. The NUC hive has been taking about 1 pint a week. All 4 hives have been out down to about 50F bringing in stores, but all of them stop taking in the syrup when it gets cold. I am thinking that the cold syrup chills them. I have read that in winter the bees will take to sugar patties better than 1:1 or 2:1, maybe it does not chill them as much.
    Best of luck and I hope they make it through the winter.
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,452

    Default Re: Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    >>Do you feed small amounts of syrup sometimes in winter? In the spring and summer they always seemed to have some cells full of uncapped honey around the main area that the brood and bees were. Do they continue having some uncapped honey in the middle area where they cluster in the winter?

    I try to have them to weight by October, so that feeding is not an issue through winter. But you know how things go, I have had to feed in March, and made an entire feeding round opening wraps and adding a pail. Lots of work, walking through 2 feet of snow with pails is not fun. Good lesson learned to have the hive fed up and do that work in fall!
    Now I winter inside, and will be feeding some probably starting in feb. Probably to some of my nucs, they went in a bit light this year.

    You will get responses from this forum that winter feeding will make for disaster. And it can. high moisture feed will cause humidity problems, might cause fermentation in cases, which may lead to poopy situations.

    check you hive weight, if they need it, feed them. if they dont leave them.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,335

    Default Re: Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    Good advice from our Canadian friend, I will add that for now I think it would be best to feed granulated sugar on the inner cover or perhaps the frame tops as back up feed and to keep a close eye on the stores, feeding syrup would be best done in the early spring months of February, March and April which will also stimulate brood rearing, this early spring feeding will place a demand on pollen stores as well, so feeding a pollen substitute should accompany the syrup. When you begin with early feeding you will need to continue until a nectar flow begins.
    Last edited by WWW; 12-20-2012 at 08:08 PM.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,452

    Default Re: Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    I hear recommendations to feed dry sugar alot on this forum, and it probably does work very well. Alot of beekeeping is regional so when reading advice from others we have to translate it into our own situations. In my cases, feeding dry sugar during the winter would not help a starving hive situation, as dry sugar can only be taken during active periods and cant be stored quickly during active periods. If i am to feed due to starvation, I need to get the feed down and stored into the frames fast. Dry sugar requires gathering water, and climbing out of the cluster to retrieve it.

    but if you are wanting to just provide something for them, dry sugar is probably better than a liquid feed.
    dont you just love getting advice from beekeepers! so variable lol

    just my thoughts
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    I wondered why my girls didn't take syrup in late fall. Then I read (maybe here) bees don't break cluster below 50 to visit the feeder. I think that's why dry sugar on the frames is preferred my many.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    Dry sugar requires gathering water, and climbing out of the cluster to retrieve it.
    Truer words have never been spoken.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: Will a little 2 to 1 syrup when it's cold hurt

    Thanks for the tips and follow through everyone. Since the weather had been warm then cold and the bees would fly and then not and then it warmed up and then they would fly again I didn't have a clear sense of when too late to feed them was although I know it is late. Since they were out flying but there was only some pollen coming in I figured they could use a little nectar. I gave some dry sugar last year above the hves and the bees tunneled through it in some cases but in other hives they didn't. I was under the impression that the mositure in the hives would be present in the sugar and the bees could come up and suckle on it when the sugar was moist. Perhaps then take the sugar water down and move it around to where they needed it. I will come back to this and report if my actions were successful or not later in the season. It's extremely cold and rainy tonight so I'm picturing the bees all clustered up keeping warm.

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