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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
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    436

    Default I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    July 1 in southwest Michigan (Zone 5) and bees still taking syrup. Can I stop giving it to them?

    Background: 2 first year hives, 5 weeks old. One doing well, just added 2nd deep yesterday and they have been taking syrup consistently... half a gallon a week. 2nd hive struggling some but starting to catch up. They stopped taking syrup after 2 weeks though I've made it avaialble to them. They might be taking a little syrup. Hope to add 2nd deep in a week or two.

    Should I continue to feed or is it time for them to rely only on nectar?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Gladys, VA
    Posts
    91

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    I stop feeding them when the bees stop taking it.
    ----
    Joe

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
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    436

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    I am curious why the weaker colony stopped taking syrup a couple weeks ago. Maybe a chicken and the egg scenario? Did they stop taking syrup becasue they were weak or are they weak because they stopped taking syrup? Or is there no relationship there?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,277

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    When I have had colonies that refused syrup and other colonies were taking it it was because of high mite/virus loads. They would start to have bees crawling away from the hive, they would shake and often have disjointed wings. They seldom survived the winter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
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    436

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    When I have had colonies that refused syrup and other colonies were taking it it was because of high mite/virus loads. They would start to have bees crawling away from the hive, they would shake and often have disjointed wings. They seldom survived the winter.
    Fortunately I am not seeing any of that. They seem healthy though slower growing then the other hive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    Quote Originally Posted by frankthomas View Post
    ... they have been taking syrup consistently... half a gallon a week.
    You're lucky - my new hive takes a gallon every three days. I feel like I'm chained to the kitchen!

    They went through a phase where they stopped taking the syrup - for about a week. Then they started taking it again. I don't fully understand the cause-and-effect of it all, but about that time I had added a second deep, and their first brood was emerging so the population was booming. If your weaker hive has brood on the way, you may want to keep the syrup available.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    Has anyone ever heard of adding a little honey to the syrup? Seems they would like that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,896

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    Look and see what they have for stores.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    Quote Originally Posted by frankthomas View Post
    Has anyone ever heard of adding a little honey to the syrup? Seems they would like that.
    I woould like filet mingon every night also, but not in the budjet......... Why feed a honey when sugar works fine and is cheaper??

    Feed them as long as you like to build stores, just be careful they are not backfilling the comb with feed. If they are takeing a gaollon every 3 days I would be checking close for backfilling, or a leak. Most hives a gallon should last about a week.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Richmond, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    Feed them as long as you like to build stores, just be careful they are not backfilling the comb with feed.
    OK, can you explain the difference between "building stores" and "backfilling"?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,896

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    Quote Originally Posted by frazier thomas View Post
    OK, can you explain the difference between "building stores" and "backfilling"?
    Backfilling is when they are storing nectar in the brood nest competing with the queen's egg laying for cells. Too much backfilling is thought to be a precursor to swarming. If you've got a solid frame of syrup in the brood chamber swop it with a frame on an outside position. I make the assumption that a new colony will not be taking much interest in the outside frames and that they are probably empty. This is also called opening up the brood nest.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    I'm not too far from you in Midland MI. I stopped feeding about a month ago (started with 5-frame nucs in late April) when i had to split hives to prevent swarming. They were backfilling the brood nest and started a lot of swarm cells. Anyways, they have done fine just bringing in forage and i have a fair bit of honey throiuhgout the hives.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    [QUOTE=gmcharlie;965274]I woould like filet mingon every night also, but not in the budjet......... Why feed a honey when sugar works fine and is cheaper??QUOTE]

    The reason for wondering about adding honey to the syrup was because of the one struggling hive not taking any syrup. Thought the honey might get them interested. So no budget issue. But hoping for a solution for the weaker hive.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: I know, Another 'when to stop feeding question'

    The reason for wondering about adding honey to the syrup was because of the one struggling hive not taking any syrup. Thought the honey might get them interested. So no budget issue. But hoping for a solution for the weaker hive.[/QUOTE]

    Ahhh interesting thought... Make sure your surup is not too thick.... as for the difference between backfilling and storing... In a typical 10frame the outer frame on each side, as well as maybe half the next one in, and possible a small band at the top of each frame filled with food. much more than that is a problem before the end of July or so...you need at least 6-7 open frames for the queen to lay in, A real strong hive that may be as many as 20 frames..... when the area for her to lay in gets to small, its because a lack of space, as soon as a Larve hatches, workers are stuffing nectar into it, before the queen can lay again. in fall its not a problem... early summer is in my book

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