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  1. #1

    Default Emergency feeding a top bar hive with a new package installed? (weather turned cold)

    I am in north metro Atlanta and received my package this past Sunday. Weather had been more spring like the last week and so I didn't really think anything about it. Well, Monday (today) the temp dropped to a high of 48 and it is supposed to get down below freezing tonight. This is predicted for the next few days. I had made a Boardman style feeder with entrance at the bottom of a follower board so I could feed inside the hive. It is too cold for the bees to go to the bottom and enter the feeder. The queen is still in her cage attached to the top so they aren't going to move the cluster down. This is a new hive, 1 day old package so there is not even any comb much less stored food they can cluster around. Here is what was suggested as an immediate emergency feeding method: Space the top bars that they are clustering under, put paper towel on top of that and then mix 5lbs of sugar with a cup of water to make a paste then plaster that on top of the paper towel. They weren't happy that I separated the top bars but when I peered through the open space on the sides, they were "licking" the paper towel. My hive has a top, but spacing the top bars allows the heat generated to escape. My first thought was to put this sugar mix on the bottom, but if they aren't breaking the cluster to go into the feeder, they probably aren't going to break it to move 6 inches to the sugar below either. I also put a tarp over the hive to stop wind from getting up under the top since the bars are spaced (very windy as well today and tomorrow).

    Any TBH people out there that have any suggestions???? The weather should break by the weekend rising into the upper 60s/lower 70s on Saturday. I know they wouldn't last that long if I didn't do something today.
    Last edited by kpence73; 03-25-2013 at 05:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: Emergency feeding a top bar hive with a new package installed? (weather turned co

    making the paste and putting it close to the cluster is what i would have tried too. good luck.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Emergency feeding a top bar hive with a new package installed? (weather turned co

    Do you have room to put in a baggie feeder?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Emergency feeding a top bar hive with a new package installed? (weather turned co

    I do and will probably do that today depending on how the sugar paste worked.

    It was snowing this morning when I went to work. Not sticking.

    I have read though that they won't take syrup that is too cold that is why I didn't do a baggy yesterday.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,277

    Default Re: Emergency feeding a top bar hive with a new package installed? (weather turned co

    probably too cold for syrup, can you put a piece of foam insulation on top of your top?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,835

    Default Re: Emergency feeding a top bar hive with a new package installed? (weather turned co

    I put on and take off syrup this time of year according to the temp. I feed if the temp will go above 50 degrees. It also helps if it is a sunny day. Bees will feed on syrup if the inside of the hive is warm. no matter what is going on outside.

    I have been feeding mine for about the last month. just a small amount of syrup each day. I am talking a half a quart a day for a full size hive. a cup for a 5 frame nuc. Syrup is removed at night replaced in the mornings. Not given if temp will not get above 50.

    During that time out temperatures have varied from low 30's at night to the 50 and 60's during the day. Bees are foraging on most days. I use this as a indication for feeding as well. Active bees get fed.

    Results.
    Hive 1 my largest has a 3 deep 10 frames hive full of brood. That is 30 frames.
    hive 2 a 5 frame nuc has some brood and 5 med fraems of sugar syrup stored.
    hive 3 another 5 frame nuc has at least 3 deep fraems packed edge to edge with brood very little stores. What I would expect to find in a hive that is building well.
    hive 4 a cut out I made about 4 weeks ago has repaired 5 frames of cut out comb and is drawing an additional 5 frames of foundation.

    For now my greatest concern across the board is swarm management. My greatest concern for a single hive is the lagging 5 frame nuc. I want to figure out why it is lagging. I cannot even say at this point if it is a problem. it in fact could be ahead and is actually filling the hive with honey in preparation for swarming.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Emergency feeding a top bar hive with a new package installed? (weather turned co

    Since they will starve without food, and they can't take cold syrup, just make sure you have hot (no hotter than you can put your finger in so they don't get burned) syrup available once a day.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Emergency feeding a top bar hive with a new package installed? (weather turned co

    If I understand it correctly part of the advantage of the baggie feeder is that it will be somewhat warmed by the cluster if its on top of the bars that the cluster is formed on.

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