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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    seattle, washington
    Posts
    64

    Default how to get bees to feed in top feeder?

    Hello all,
    I took a peek at the hive yesterday and noticed that the bees are still alive and kicking. I thought I would give them some feed to kickstart the spring which will hopefully be here soon. I put the top feeder on, and usually the bees start feeding right away, this time they haven't started feeding on it yet. When I removed the top yesterday I noticed the bees were down low in the hive, how can I entice them up to feed? Are they still not ready to leave the ball, or is it because they aren't aware of the top feeder?
    They were out flying around in the sun yesterday even though it was only around 50*.
    I am actually a little bit surprised they made it through the winter.

    Thanks, Ron

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,970

    Default Re: how to get bees to feed in top feeder?

    It may be that the syrup is too cold. Typically the syrup needs to be at least 50 degrees, and the liquid warms up slower than the surrounding air.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    seattle, washington
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: how to get bees to feed in top feeder?

    Thanks for the quick reply. I will keep an eye on it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,528

    Default Re: how to get bees to feed in top feeder?

    If the cluster is still low in the colony and they have honey above them, they probably just aren't interested. If there is a full box of honey above them, you could pull a frame and lightly abrade the cappings with your capping scratcher and put it above them. Don't make the honey run just ooze. I would take the feeder off and give the bees who don't need the feeder less cubic inches to heat! When it warms up in the hive, they will get more active.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Skagit, WA, USA
    Posts
    133

    Default Re: how to get bees to feed in top feeder?

    I'm north of you in Skagit County. Micro climates determine everything, of course, but it is too cold for liquid(syrup) feed in our area. Nights in the thirties mean the syrup won't warm enough during the day. If you must feed, because your hive is out of stores, you should consider fondant or dry sugar methods. If they have stores, but are trying to "stimulate" them (you mentioned "jump starting" them), spring temps are a little far off, even given yesterday's mid 50's. Congratulations on getting your hive through winter. Remember, the last two years we had cool temps and rain into late June.
    I don't keep bees, I tend bees. Does this make me a beet?
    Sea level, Puget Sound, USDA 7a-7b

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    seattle, washington
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: how to get bees to feed in top feeder?

    Thanks!

    Next time it gets warm enough I will check and see on the amount they have left upstairs, if any. I don't want to get into the lower box if I don't have to. If there is nothing in the top box, I will add some type of dry feed.
    Thanks again.

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