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  1. #1
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    Default How long should you feed a split colony?

    Split the colony over a week ago and haven't seen any eggs but the queen is in there roaming around.

    How long should I feed the colony (1 to 1 Sugar syrup)...until I see capped brood? The new hive has quite a few bees but many of them are older than 4 weeks. I haven't had eggs laid since May 23rd.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    Ive feed untill

    1) they stop takeing it
    2) they have enough capped "sugar water" to last winter.

    they will use the 1/1 to draw frames. are you putting drawn frames on them or undrawn? if drawn frames they will need less.
    they will use the 1/1 to feed brood and store for winter stores.


    Id feed heavly now and tail off toward fall and let them get what they can from a fall flow. Re-assess after fall flow.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    Its a 10 frame deep with two frames with foundation only. They rest have at least 30-50% honey/pollen with some gaps (since no eggs) and one frame of empty comb. They seem to empty the sugar water about every 2-3 days.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    whats your location? how many other hives do you have?

    It usually takes a virgin queen ~week to mate and start laying. I would look for fresh C shaped larva in a week. If still nothing in another week you likely have issues.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    Piedmont NC. Two hives.

    The hive in question had a mated queen installed on 6/15. She was out of her cage 4 days later. Tomorrow will be one week since she has been out of her cage.

  6. #6
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    I think that during the season any hive that does not have significant amounts of both capped honey and open nectar should be fed until it does. And yes I know that isn't really honey if you have been feeding. Unless you feed honey.

    If you are trying to get them to draw out foundation then you have to feed them enough for them to need to do that.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    Define significant. How many frames per deep should have honey AND what % of the frame should be capped? I guess what I'm asking is for this colony to survive winter what should they have framewise?

    Zone 7

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    How much they need for the winter is a whole 'nother subject. A ten frame deep single should be pretty heavy going into winter. I don't use deeps, but I would guess 60-75 pounds or more.

    During the growing season significant is in the eye of the master as the saying goes - no less than 15 pounds of capped honey is what I was told by a very experience gentleman. Which sounds about right. If there is at least two frames full of capped and open nectar, and the corners of many of the other frames have honey and nectar in them then you are probably alright. If there is little if any open nectar, they need to be fed even if there is plenty of capped. Just my opinion.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    If they have several frames of capped honey/nectar now should I feed until they have drawn comb on the two foundation only frames? I know sugar water isn't as good as the real thing and worry that the bees would be better off foraging soon.

    I had run out of sugar the other day so there was about 6 hours where they didn't have any feed. They were in and out of the hive constantly most of the day. As soon as I put the sugar water back in, hardly any bee activity in and out. There is quite a bit of white clover in my yard right now but I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize the colony...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    As long as there is nectar available I would not feed. Feeding causes all sorts of problems, the first is that they will backfill the brood nest and swarm when still weak. The robbing and ants are also an issue. If there is no nectar coming in and they don't have enough for winter, I would feed.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    As long as there is nectar available I would not feed. Feeding causes all sorts of problems, the first is that they will backfill the brood nest and swarm when still weak. The robbing and ants are also an issue. If there is no nectar coming in and they don't have enough for winter, I would feed.
    What about the foundation frames...should I feed until they have drawn comb? Or just stop now and assume they will fill those on their own?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    >What about the foundation frames...should I feed until they have drawn comb? Or just stop now and assume they will fill those on their own?

    If there is a steady flow of nectar things come in at a rate in in a way that the feedback mechanisms of the bees prevent them from backfilling everything with syrup unless they actually are strong enough to swarm (in which case they will do it on purpose). But a constant supply of syrup bypasses the receiver bee system and the feedback mechanisms that control the influx of nectar, so they just store it. A feeder in the hive gets treated more like a spill than a source of nectar. I would feed when there is no nectar and they don't have enough comb or stores for winter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >What about the foundation frames...should I feed until they have drawn comb? Or just stop now and assume they will fill those on their own?

    If there is a steady flow of nectar things come in at a rate in in a way that the feedback mechanisms of the bees prevent them from backfilling everything with syrup unless they actually are strong enough to swarm (in which case they will do it on purpose). But a constant supply of syrup bypasses the receiver bee system and the feedback mechanisms that control the influx of nectar, so they just store it. A feeder in the hive gets treated more like a spill than a source of nectar. I would feed when there is no nectar and they don't have enough comb or stores for winter.
    When I looked for eggs the other day I did see two or three swarm cells....should this be worrysome? They only have about 20% of drawn comb on the two foundation frames.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    >When I looked for eggs the other day I did see two or three swarm cells....should this be worrysome? They only have about 20% of drawn comb on the two foundation frames.

    Define a "swarm cell". Is there open space in the brood nest for the queen to lay? Is the hive crowded? Do the "swarm cells" have larvae in them? Are capped?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    Small cups with open hole. Didn't see eggs or larvae in them. Many of the frames have quite a bit of nectar but there is space for her to lay....assuming she uses it.

    By nectar I mean they they are filled with a clearish liquid but not capped...some cells are nearly full while others seem to only have a small amount in them. There are also many cells that have red/yellow/orange substance 1/3 to 1/2 full which I assumed to be pollen.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    Define nectar flow....would 1/5 of an acre of white clover be considered a flow? I assume a "honey flow" would be where many different flowers are available but would 1000 clover flowers be enough to stop feeding the bees?

    I watched the hive this morning for 5 minutes and saw a bee enter about every 10 seconds with pollen all over her legs.....I don't want them to fill up dry comb with nectar as opposed to eggs but I also want those 2 frames of foundation filled out as well.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    >Small cups with open hole.

    That is not a swarm cell. It is not even a queen cell. It is just a queen cup. It means absolutely nothing.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How long should you feed a split colony?

    Found all kinds of brood! Some capped some uncapped and some eggs....I have stopped feeding for now and will let them forage. When I mow my yard and take out all of the clover I may feed a little until it comes back.

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