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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    7

    Question Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    Just hived 3 packages yesterday, now on the first day of spring we are supposed to go to 30 deg. tonight. I have top feeders full of syrup on them, now I'm worried about condensation with it supposed to be in the 40's at night for the rest of the week and warming up to 60's during the day.

    Would putting an inner cover under the feeder help contain the moisture and condensation, or would it be best to remove the feeders and put a baggie feeder on top of an inner cover until the temps moderate?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
    Posts
    781

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    Try regular dry sugar until it warms up maybe .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,730

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    The syrup in the top feeder might not warm up enough for them to use. I'd go for an inverted can over the hole in the inner cover. Or the baggie.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -H.S. Thompson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Alabaster, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    209

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    If it were me, I would remove the feeder overnight and replace it when the temps warm back up during the day. Also, if you are using screened bottom boards, I would place a piece of posterboard over the bottom board to keep out the drafts for a couple of weeks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,960

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    Those temps are our usual package installation temps except we usually don't get into the 60's. Just make sure that the queen is attached good near the top of the frames so that they can cluster around her and can get to food (liquid sugar water) easily. I suppose in Alabama that seems deathly cold, but those are my normal beekeeping temps during the early spring. The bees will be fine as long as they can cluster around the queen.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    Birmingham, I just looked at NOAA and it's saying 28F for the general B'ham area. Looks like there's about a 5 hour stretch that is "predicted" to be below freezing.

    The problem with the hive-top feeder is that the bees will be mostly clustering when it gets cold and will probably not travel up to the feeder to get food. Having access directly over the cluster would be better...as long as it doesn't leak (I've never had a leaker).

    Removing the feeder, placing an inner cover on top and setting a mason jar of syrup over the hole in the inner cover would position the syrup about as close as possible to the cluster. The only way to get the syrup closer would be set a couple of small thin pieces of wood on top of the frames and set the jar directly on top of them. With either of the methods you would want to put another hive box on top of the hive to enclose the jar (with hive cover on top). I would opt for using an inner cover and setting the jar over the hole as this will result in a smaller cavity and will help the bees conserve more heat/energy. The cluster's heat rising through the inner cover hole will also slightly warm the syrup. Just remember to put another box on top of the inner cover and the top cover on top of that box. I guess since your presently using a hive-top feeder it would be as simple as removing the feeder and replacing it with a jar over the inner cover hole?

    If you were going into a long stretch of cold weather I might recommend the Mountain Camp method of feeding dry sugar, but I don't see any more freezing temps over the next week for your area....maybe this is your "Easter snap".

    Best wishes,
    Ed

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    The bees have to be able to cluster around the queen cage to keep her warm and fed as beedeetee said. I would not depend on the top feeder for their food just in case it doesn't warm up like they predict, I would put dry sugar on a piece of newspaper right on top of the frames next to the cluster and queen cage, do that in the warmest part of the day. To make room for the sugar put your inner cover on top of it with the deepest side (beespace) facing down, and spread the sugar out thin on the newspaper and spray it slightly with water to get it to stick together a bit. John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    If you're going to use the inverted feeder jar/can (with a few small holes in the lid) directly on the top bars (with a couple of small spacer sticks so the bees have easy access to the entire lid surface). After putting that in place and adding an empty super to accommodate it, you could then pack the empty space around the jar of warm feed, with crumpled newspaper or the equivalent. It's what I often do, and it seems to help the syrup stay warm enough for the bees to take, longer.

    BTW, don't forget to start with very warm to hot syrup. And be careful not to have the queen cage (if the queen is still in it), immediately below the syrup jar/can, or she may get wet and injured/killed.

    Also, be careful to ensure the hives are level when using this feeding method, if they're off level too much the syrup will drain out of the inverted feeders and wet the bees or just pour out on the ground.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Lemont, Il U.S.A.
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    Put your bottom entrance reducer in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    Tip the hive forward by about 10 deg till it warms up, leave teh feeder in place... Got the same problem here times 100

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    943

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    The bees have to be able to cluster around the queen cage to keep her warm and fed as beedeetee said. I would not depend on the top feeder for their food just in case it doesn't warm up like they predict, I would put dry sugar on a piece of newspaper right on top of the frames next to the cluster and queen cage, do that in the warmest part of the day. To make room for the sugar put your inner cover on top of it with the deepest side (beespace) facing down, and spread the sugar out thin on the newspaper and spray it slightly with water to get it to stick together a bit. John
    FWIW...This is what I'd do.

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    -snip- Removing the feeder, placing an inner cover on top and setting a mason jar of syrup over the hole in the inner cover would position the syrup about as close as possible to the cluster......I would opt for using an inner cover and setting the jar over the hole as this will result in a smaller cavity and will help the bees conserve more heat/energy. The cluster's heat rising through the inner cover hole will also slightly warm the syrup. Just remember to put another box on top of the inner cover and the top cover on top of that box. -snip-

    Best wishes,
    Ed
    This is what I do and would recommend to you. You can change the jars out with syrup warmed in the houe as often as you like, but, the bees are able to survive at the forecast temps and much colder if they have stores. Moisture build up in the short window of time you have is unlikely in the extreme.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    Agree with Lburou, those temps sound nice. Even foundationless should be ok, foundation or comb no sweat.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    My biggest concern for a package with no stores is not condensation but starvation. I would heat the syrup once a day so they can take it, until the weather warms up or something blooms.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Just hived packages, now subfreezing temps. Feeding question.

    If it was me, I would release the queen from the cage if she is still in there, the bees will accept her by now because she has been with them for a few days now I would assume. If she is released then she can be with the cluster no matter where it is. Most of the time I direct release queens with package bees as soon as I install them, never had any queen rejected as the bees have had a few days in the package to get her scent spread around. John

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