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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salisbury, NC, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Too early for feeding sugar syrup??

    To keep this brief, is it too early to feed sugar syrup? Are there any implications of feeding this early?

    Our weather forcast is showing 4+ days of 60+ degree weather here in North Carolina. I was thinking about feeding sugar syrup since some of my hives are getting light but worried it might cause them to brood up too much and risk chill brood on the next cold snap. *Disclaimer* - this is my first winter, i'm clueless.
    First year beek... 1 10-frame lang... 3 5-frame nucs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,992

    Default Re: Too early for feeding sugar syrup??

    This sort of thing is very location specific. In my location it is definitely too early to feed. If they brood up heavily now they will not only swarm by April (and my flow is in the middle of June), if they live, but they are likely to get stuck on brood in a cold snap and starve. I have much better luck letting them stay in tune with their environment and brood up when the climate and the weather tell them too. And even that can go wrong. But that's a much safer bet in my climate. Your goal is to get them to build up to a peak when the main flow hits. Ask your local beekeepers and you'll get a better idea. Especially the ones that make a lot of honey. Some people just feed for no reason all the time and that seldom turns out well. Find people who understand (and can talk about) the timing of the buildup and the timing of the flow in your location. If they can't talk about that, then they are probably just feeding to be feeding...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 41y 200h 38yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    8,506

    Default Re: Too early for feeding sugar syrup??

    One thing to keep in mind is that the syrup temperature (not necessarily the same as the air temperature) should be about 50 degrees or above for the bees to be able to handle the syrup. Cold syrup cools the bees' bodies, and then their muscles don't work.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    32,509

    Default Re: Too early for feeding sugar syrup??

    Caleb, do you need to feed now? What do you hope to accomplish by feeding at this time? You are out near the coast, right?

    When I get down to SC in a couple weeks I will be going through my hives and probably will be feeding them syrup, as well as a protein patty, in hope of stimulating them to grow. I want them really strong by mid March when it will be time to take them to the blueberries in NC and later to be able to split some for increase.
    Just because something is new to you, doesn't mean it is new, or revolutionary. Mark Berninghausen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    32,509

    Default Re: Too early for feeding sugar syrup??

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    One thing to keep in mind is that the syrup temperature (not necessarily the same as the air temperature) should be about 50 degrees or above for the bees to be able to handle the syrup. Cold syrup cools the bees' bodies, and then their muscles don't work.
    Just because something is new to you, doesn't mean it is new, or revolutionary. Mark Berninghausen

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    2,424

    Default Re: Too early for feeding sugar syrup??

    I think it's fine, I have started feeding a small amount of syrup maybe 1/2 cup each. Just for insurance to keep them from starving.

    Most of them have finished the sugar blocks and I don't think I will make more for this year. If we were not having 50 deg days every week or so I would may more blocks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salisbury, NC, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Too early for feeding sugar syrup??

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Caleb, do you need to feed now? What do you hope to accomplish by feeding at this time? You are out near the coast, right?
    They still have some sugar bricks on them so I dont think it is a matter of life/death if I don't feed. My real goal was just insurance against starvation and *not* brood rearing. I'm located in central NC. Just north of Charlotte. I was thinking about feeding for brood rearing and growth at the end of Feb which would give 6 weeks of growth before the early April flow.
    First year beek... 1 10-frame lang... 3 5-frame nucs

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Salisbury, NH
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Too early for feeding sugar syrup??

    I'm in Durham. Everyone there is still clustered on honey stores. The maples are at least a month away here. So no feeding.
    On coast maples just starting and 5 of the nucs brooded up into honey stores and were light. They got syrup since I didn't make fondant or patties ahead of time. It's ok. But imo. I wouldn't feed unless if they are light.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Chatham, Va. USA
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Too early for feeding sugar syrup??

    I am still feeding sugar bricks. Checked in on my one surviving hive and they were really working the bricks so I slid a couple more in. I watched the foragers and a couple were bringing in light loads of pollen lol. I sure will be glad when Spring gets here,

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