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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    grand rapids, michigan
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    451

    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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    451

    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
    1,305

    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
    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
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    451

    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    grand rapids, michigan
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    451

    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
    2,960

    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
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    595

    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.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
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    451

    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.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
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    2,960

    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

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cache, Utah, USA
    Posts
    61

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

    This is something I come across with my hive. I caught a 7-8lb swarm on June 12th and fed 1 qt/day for 10 days. I started them on 5 frames of old comb and 4 of waxed foundation. by the 10th day I felt like the deep was honey bound since I saw <25% of the frames with eggs or brood and the rest with sugar water. I then installed the second deep and swapped #2and #8 from the bottom deep with new foundation from the top deep and placed the full frames in the center of the top deep. Last Saturday I looked and they have not really done much inthe top deep except the queen was up there laying eggs, no brood yet. The bottom deep had mostly capped brood with a few open brood and otherwise full of sugarwater/nectar and pollen. Should I be worried about the bottom deep being honey bound? Should I swap some more frames from top to bottom? reverse the deeps? Sit in the shade and stop worrying?

  15. #15
    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

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    920

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

    How does capped syrup look compared to capped honey , how do I tell the difference. Or uncapped .

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Ash Grove MO. USA.
    Posts
    535

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

    For me freshly capped honey is white, capped sugar has a brown tint to it. Year old capped honey will get tracked up enough to look about the same.
    Some of your darker late summer/ fall honey will be darker but the fresh caps will be white.
    Sugar also has a slightly greasy look kinda like its trying to seep through. Just my opinion.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,960

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

    Quote Originally Posted by laketrout View Post
    How does capped syrup look compared to capped honey , how do I tell the difference. Or uncapped .
    If you are seeing any freshly capped "honey" while you are feeding and the bees are taking the feed, what you are seeing is capped syrup. I have not been able to visually tell the difference between capped syrup and capped honey. As far as the bees are concerned syrup is nectar and is what you make honey out of.

    It often goes without saying - anything stored while feeding the hive should not be taken for human consumption.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
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    920

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

    OK , I should have realized that , so the real nice looking band across the top is most likely syrup or a combination of syrup an honey. When there back filling with syrup are they still using alot of it for drawing comb .One of the nucs I started this spring is now on a second deep and taking syrup at 1 1/2 Quarts a day and I was wondering if they might be backfilling with it .

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

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

    There is no reason to feed when there is a flow. If there is NOT a flow, I would feed a hive that is still getting established. I have very seldom seen bees EVER stop taking syrup under any conditions except extreme cold where they couldn't take it anymore... I have seen packages backfill the brood nest and swarm because they had all that syrup and not enough room to store it, when they were still weak and trying to get established...

    http://bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#when

    "Q. When is the best time to feed the bees?

    "A. The best thing is never to feed them, but let them gather their own stores. But if the season is a failure, as it is some years in most places, then you must feed. The best time for that is just as soon as you know they will need feeding for winter; say in August or September. October does very well, however, and even if you haven't fed until December, better feed then than to let the bees starve."

    --C.C. Miller, A Thousand Answers to Beekeeping Questions, 1917
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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