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Thread: Winter feeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    Default Winter feeding

    I checked my hives on 1/1/13 and found them to be pretty lite on honey. The temps were I live at this week are 40 at night and 55-60 during the day. So I started feeding them 2:1 syrup, which they are sucking down. My question is, am I doing wrong by feeding them syrup now. Should I be feeding foundant or dry sugar insted, and if so why? Thanks Steve
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,648

    Default Re: Winter feeding

    i'm not an expert, but i would think that if they can take the syrup down and store it around the cluster it would be better than dry sugar or fondant.

    i think the main concern would be moisture, but not a problem if the 'ceiling' of the hive is insulated and/or you have a way of venting excess moisture out of the top.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,474

    Default Re: Winter feeding

    Are the bees able to take regular cleansing flights? Should be able to if your temps are as you state. If so, you can feed 2:1

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: Winter feeding

    You must have warm weather. Mine won't take any syrup in the winter. If they did, though, I would be afraid of the moisture.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Winter feeding

    http://www.honeybeesuite.com/winter-...s-solid-sugar/

    Good info in this article on feeding syrup in the winter.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Missouri USA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Winter feeding

    Good article Seymour. Thanks for sharing. He did a good job of describing the reasoning behind his proposed feeding methods. I've followed the same feeding guidelines he proposed. Seems to work really well.
    Last edited by Whitetail; 01-06-2013 at 05:27 PM. Reason: Spellage

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
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    1,076

    Default Re: Winter feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitetail View Post
    ...He did a good job of describing the reasoning behind his proposed feeding methods...
    Yes, she does a great job with explaining things. Plain and simple - like I need.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    876

    Default Re: Winter feeding

    My bees can take cleansing flights, they were bringing in pollen on Sunday. Next question is, do they have to turn the syrup to honey before they can eat it, or can they just eat the syrup that they stored in the comb. Also is moisture a big problem with temps in the 40s at night and 50s to 60 in the day. Or is it mainly a problem when its real cold out?
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: Winter feeding

    No, Steve, they don't have to convert to honey. Feeding this time of year (winter) would be to prevent starving, so they would eat it not convert. Conversion to honey is nigh on impossible in temps below 50.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    Default Re: Winter feeding

    Thanks Seymore I just wanted to make sure they could use it before they capped it. It is going to be in the low 70s here all week.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: Winter feeding

    70s!!! Wow - well they may just convert it to honey anyway! Lucky you!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Winter feeding

    Like the OP, I checked my hive the other day when the temp was 60F.

    What I found was that there were some bees making flights (I assume cleansing flights), and about 2-3 dead bees at the entrance. Saw one bee fly out of the hive, thud to the ground, buzz and flail around for a few seconds, then take to the air again. Reminded me of me staggering out of the house in the morning.

    I had poured sugar on the inside cover, which is solid except for an oval ventilation hole. There is sugar right up to the edge of the hole, and there were a few bees crawling around, but they didn't appear to have eaten very much of the sugar (which was placed there in mid-December).

    This was rather surprising to me, as the hive seemed pretty light going into winter- a single 8 frame deep with maybe 6-7 frames fairly full of honey. The only real winterizing I have done is reducing the entrance and putting some empty deeps next to the hive as a wind break (very windy here) and also an empty deep with its wooden cover on top of the hives metal telescoping cover to provide some dead-air-space insulation.

    I had a weaker, lighter hive that starved back in early December, so I wasn't very sanguine about this one making it. Do bees use these warm periods to build their stocks up again? My concern is that they will empty out their stores of honey, we will have a cold spell (15F for a low later this week), and not be able to get to/use the sugar. I tried pushing some of the sugar through the vent hole down onto the frames in the hopes that they would access it a little better, but didnt want to open the hive up to do something like pour it across the tops of the frames or put a news paper on them and pour it on that.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    876

    Default Re: Winter feeding

    Jdawdy There is nothing out there now for the bees to build their stocks up again. And the sugar ontop of the inner cover wont do your bees any good when they are clustered. It has to be ontop of the bees, like the newspapper ontop of the frames and then the sugar poured ontop of that.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

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