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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,764

    Default didn't leave 'em enough last fall

    i tried not giving any syrup last fall to see if the bees could make it through winter without it.

    compared to previous years when i fed, my hives this november were 10 - 20 lbs. lighter.

    i spread some honey around three weeks ago, giving frames from the heavy ones to the lighter ones.

    i went out and hefted them today, and i'm not comfortable with how light they are.

    although there has been some foraging on the warm days, we haven't quite got to the first really good flows, and probably won't for a couple of weeks.

    i'm not sure if they can do it on their own or not, but i'm not willing to take that risk. i have several exceptional queens out there and i sure don't want to lose them, or any of these overwintered treatment free colonies for that matter.

    as much as i would rather not, i fixed up a yard feeder today using a 5 gallon bucket, and drilling 1/8" holes so the syrup can dribble into the little 'troughs' when the bucket is upside down. it's raining today, but tomorrow looks like a good flying day, and i'll be putting out.

    lesson learned: they need to be heavier going into winter from now on. this means not harvesting as much honey or giving them a little syrup if needed, or both. next year's target for my medium/deep/medium stacks going into winter will be at least 85 -95 lbs.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bartlett, Illinois
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: didn't leave 'em enough last fall

    If you have the ability to weigh (which it seems by your post you do) you should have a target weight that you should be at before going into winter. For me, in the Chicago area, it's a minimum of 130 pounds. That is, a two deep hive should weigh in at 130 pounds minimum. Ideally, I'd like to be over 140. If I am not at my minimum weight I will feed until I get there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: didn't leave 'em enough last fall

    Thanks for sharing. Takes an honest man/ woman to say "I tried it, will not try it again."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,764

    Default Re: didn't leave 'em enough last fall

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Thanks for sharing. Takes an honest man/ woman to say "I tried it, will not try it again."
    well i'll be dad gummed. talk about false alarm.............

    them little buggers have all kinds of capped and uncapped honey, every last one of the eleven hives in my home yard. some of it undoubtedly came from dead out #12 over the past few weeks, my only lost hive that went queenless over the winter and got robbed out.

    cluster size varied from about 2.5 - 7.0 frames, and stores correlated consistantly in the yard at about 1 - 1.5 frames of stores per frames of bees. going by pounds of bees, i probably got about 2 lbs in the smaller ones, and 4 plus pounds in the bigger ones.

    all are in a deep and two mediums of drawn comb, deep on bottom with two checkerboarded mediums on top. in every hive, the cluster and the broodnest is in the deep, and there is only some honey and empty comb in the mediums.

    all of the hives except the three heaviest are very light to the heft right now, but spring is just around the corner. i have a lot of juniper pollen coming and a bit red maple.

    shewee. i guess the bees knew what they were doing after all. boy do i really feel dumb now.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,780

    Default Re: didn't leave 'em enough last fall

    I have elm coming in as of 2 days ago. Made a couple of gallons of syrup on Thursday, pulled the full frame out of the freezer - first 3 hives still had capped stores, enough I couldn't pick the right frame to pull and replace with an internal feeder. Last 2 had more bees, pulled an empty frame, dumped a gallon in a deep frame feeder, and gave it up for now. I Know hive 1's broodnest is in the bottom, because I thought they were a deadout a month ago, pulled off the top box full of stores and found the bees. I am leaving my ladies alone for a bit. We have a new cold front coming in.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,764

    Default Re: didn't leave 'em enough last fall

    gypsi > "Bees in winter - new phenomenon, but I've got them... So far so good."
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: didn't leave 'em enough last fall

    Peg what ratio were you using for syrup?
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,764

    Default Re: didn't leave 'em enough last fall

    turns out i didn't even have to feed, but i had already mixed up a gallon of 1:1 with 1000 mg vitamin c.

    i set a couple of quarts on quail feeders out in the yard before i did the inspections, along with a little dry pollen substitute on the side.

    they were definitely interested in the syrup, but the availibility of natural pollen had them pretty much ignoring the pollen substitute.

    even though i really don't like feeding syrup, i don't regret letting them have a little, whats a couple of quarts divided into 11 hives....

    having the syrup out gave me a chance to see some really robust foraging by all of the hives, plus it got the foragers out of my way for doing the inspections. the bees and i both had a blast!

    the last time i feed any syrup was to a late swarm i caught last july just as we were entering our summer dearth. i had to give them a couple of gallons of 5:3 so they could build some comb and put up some stores. i stopped feeding those when the fall flow kicked in.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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