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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    278

    Default Ratio of syrup in winter time

    Hi: I was going to put some syrup on my hive for the bees since we are having some warm weather in ATL. I know they will not take it in the colder temps. What ratio do I use? 2 parts sugar:1 part water? Thank you for your help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,902

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    Hi Sally,

    I hope someone familiar with your climate chimes in. Where I'm at feeding syrup in the winter is a very bad idea. I don't think the bees will use it as an instant food source, but instead will attempt to reduce the moisture content and store it in cells to ripen before consuming it as food. Even if you have a warm spell I think what you are talking about is risky.

    But - if the hive is in immediate danger of starving and if you are convinced that it will die out if it doesn't get food ASAP, then what do you have to lose? My preference would be to properly get the hive ready for winter in the fall with enough stores to carry them through. But if that didn't happen... I'd try dry sugar before syrup.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    agree with andrew on not feeding unless it is to prevent starvation.

    i had a similar situation a few weeks ago, when i found a hive almost empty of stores, and had a couple of warm days.

    i mixed 5 parts sugar to 3 parts water with a little vitamin c added to reduce the ph.

    this is thick enough that in can be stored, hopefully won't ferment, and doesn't have to be dried down too much by the bees.

    looks like our warm spell will be ending here it the south, and it will be too cold again for syrup.

    what i have been doing when it's cold is a modified moutain camp method.

    i mix roughly 1 part water to 9 parts sugar to get a moist paste, and put that on the top bars right over the cluster.

    since my bees have begun brooding, (and yours might be too), i throw it some pollen sub to the mix.

    so it's 1 part water, 1 part pollen sub, and 8 parts or so water.

    you add more or less water or sugar to get the consistency right.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    I put a little 2:1 with a shot of HBH out today in a jar just to see if they'd take it. So far no takers. But they may not have found it yet. I'll check again tomorrow. It's supposed to rain Sun. night and turn cold Monday, so I'll put the jar up after tomorrow. But, I guess that's how we learn.
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    i also put some dry pollen sub out in the yard today, and it was the same, no takers.

    not much of mountain camp patty taken either.

    apparantly they preferred whatever was in the field over the artificial stuff.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,382

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    Around here (Tucson, Arizona) I only use 1:1 ratio sugar syrup at all times of the year. Our humidity is naturally very low most all year long, which makes it easier for the bees to remove moisture from the syrup, so the final concentration can easily be adjusted to suit their needs.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    Thank you all for your opinion. I will check honey stores and only feed if i feel l they may starve. I guess I thought it would be "insurance." I believe I left them with plenty of stores so I really should not need to feed. Thank you so much for your response!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    N. Las Vegas NV
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    In the winter time the cooler air won't hold as much moisture so the bees can't evaporate the water out of the sugar water.
    I would recommend putting a sheet of news paper directly over the brood nest with a few slits in it and poring granulated white sugar on it.
    The bees can take it with out having to evaporate any water from it.
    Check out this site http://www.honeybeesuite.com/syrup-d...n-a-cold-hive/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry S View Post
    In the winter time the cooler air won't hold as much moisture so the bees can't evaporate the water out of the sugar water.
    I would recommend putting a sheet of news paper directly over the brood nest with a few slits in it and poring granulated white sugar on it.
    The bees can take it with out having to evaporate any water from it.
    Check out this site http://www.honeybeesuite.com/syrup-d...n-a-cold-hive/
    Thank you Larry...good read..I do not think I will feed at all unless necessary...learned something today

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    359

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    Quote Originally Posted by SallyD View Post
    Hi: I was going to put some syrup on my hive for the bees since we are having some warm weather in ATL. I know they will not take it in the colder temps. What ratio do I use? 2 parts sugar:1 part water? Thank you for your help
    Hi Sally I am two hundred miles south of you and have often fed 2 to 1 on warm days in the winter, with positive results, I don't use 1 to 1 in the winter, since the bees are unable to reduce the water content in cold weather. I don't think a mixture of over fifty percent sugar will sour, and though the moisture content of 2 to 1 is above that of honey, I find the bees store it in the cells without capping it and use it as they would honey.
    I feed 2 to 1 in the winter even when the bees are busy bringing in pollen, I do this to keep them from having to bring in nectar, so all the bees can concentrate on pollen for the brood exspansion. What I do will seem foolish to someone farther north but it works for my region. Good Luck

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    The biggest problem with feeding syrup in the winter is water condensation in the hive. Also, they won't go get it if the temp is below 50F, even if the cluster is very loose.

    Dry sugar or a candy board is much better, simply because the cluster can reach right to the sugar and the bees on the outside of the cluster can be warm enough to pick up the syrup that forms on the surface of the candy or dry sugar and then carry it into the cluster. I've used a candy board, and it works very well.

    Peter

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    Quote Originally Posted by SallyD View Post
    Hi: I was going to put some syrup on my hive for the bees since we are having some warm weather in ATL. I know they will not take it in the colder temps. What ratio do I use? 2 parts sugar:1 part water? Thank you for your help
    Hi Sally Im in Myrtle Beach and have been feeding my bees 2:1 all week. They packed the empty combs full. You shouldnt feed unless they need it and mine did. It has been really warm this winter and bees go through their winter stores faster when it is warmer. I feed my bees syrup over dry sugar because in the south we can. If we were northern beekeepers we would have to go with dry sugar. Im sure some time this winter it will get to cold to feed syrup, but now is fine. I checked the weather early today and it is suppose to be in the 70s all the way till Friday. If your bees still have a full super of capped honey then they should be fine. Steve
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    ...and honey is so much healthier for the bees than syrup.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    Thanks all...what if you put out dry sugar outside the hive? Say I just took a paper plate and put some sugar on it...like a community feeder? Could that set off robbing? I would not want to do that!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    N. Las Vegas NV
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Ratio of syrup in winter time

    HI Sally
    Open feeding is not recomened as you say it can start robbing and that can be hard to stop.
    Best to feed inside the hive If it is warm enough in Atlanta you can fees 2 to 1 sugar water in the hive.
    Take a plastic glad storage container poke a few holes in the lid with a straight pin fill it with you syrup snap the lid on it and turn it upside down and place over the center hole of the inner cove.
    Put a couple small sticks under it to provide a bee space.
    When you turn it over do it over the sink wait till a vacume forms and it quits dripping so you don't drench the bees with syrup.

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