Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 30
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    I'm not sure what to do. I have one strong hive (new package this year) with 6 mediums and a hive top feeder. And one weak hive (newly queened Russian) with 3 mediums and top hive feeder. I keep adding syrup to both (the strong hive gets 2 gall. at a time, the weak hive gets 1 gall.) (1:1) and every time I check on them, the syrup is gone. 2 days ago I added 1 gall. to each hive, and today - gone. How can the weak hive be going thru 1 gall. of syrup in 2 days? With very little to show for it. I'm thinking the weak hive is getting robbed by the strong one.

    But the bees are all OVER the buckwheat outside and the wildflower sunflowers, probably a 30' x 30' patch of each. So it's not like there are no nectar sources. Granted, it has been raining a lot lately, very muggy.

    I always heard - feed them till they don't want anymore. But at this rate they are driving me to bankruptcy.

    Can I stop feeding them yet? When I inspected the strong hive a week ago, there was tons of honey in it, and brood. The weak hive doesn't have much brood and doesn't have much honey either.

    I keep a pollen patty in both.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,710

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    Certainly the hive with 6 mediums does not need any more syrup. I think I would also stop offering syrup to the hive with 3 mediums, and see what happens. I might also move a few frames of stored syrup (faux honey) to the weaker hive. I don't see why those hives would need pollen patties in the summer.

    You may find this Michael Bush page useful:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Larimer County, CO
    Posts
    501

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    i stopped feeding my strongest hive when i added supers above the deeps and will do the same when the others get supers added (if they do). this is what my reference books suggested, and i found reasonable. if you want sugar syrup mixed in with your honey, then you probably shouldn't feed them syrup. at least that was my line of thinking.
    I'm the dude, so that's what you call me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    Thank you! I should've thought to check Michael Bush first.

    That's what I'll do - stop feeding, but put a few honey frames from the strong hive into the weak one. I may even put a frame or 2 of brood into the weak one, I don't know why the new Russian queen isn't laying more than she is. I requeened with her 2 weeks ago.

    I had terribly small clusters come thru winter, which I combined and requeened and that hive still is not booming, which is why I'm a little paranoid about getting them as strong as I can. I'm not planning on taking any "honey" this fall, especially since they were fed syrup anyway.

    I'm not worried about the strong hive so much except that they keep sucking the syrup down, but I am worried about the weak hive and don't want to feed it alone and set off robbing. Swapping honey frames might work better.

    And they don't use the pollen patties much, I mainly have them in there for decoration I think.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    that strong hiove is storing it.... you trained them to..... Feed only to build brood or comb... stop when supers are on....

    Syrup should be cheap though,,,,,,

    As for nott booming, why?? slow brood? mites?? need to look and see whats up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    The new queen has been in there 2 weeks now, and she had a small population of bees to begin with. I borrowed one frame of brood with nurse bees from the strong hive before I even put her in, when the prior (Italian) queen was in there. I think maybe she just doesn't have the strength of enough bees. I suspect their honey stores have gone down too. I'd like to keep syrup on that weak hive, but don't want to open it up for robbing from the other hive, so hopefully borrowing honey frames will accomplish both, and I think I'll also borrow more brood frames. I think if they could get over the hump, Russians are known to lay well, it's just building up that hive past the danger point I'm working on.

    I could swear I've been told to "feed them till they don't want anymore." Next bee club meeting, I'm pinning the members down on that one.

    As far as cheap, it's close to 5 lb. of sugar for each gallon of 1:1 I put in there. At 2.69 for 5 lbs., feeding both hives even once a week is over $5, and if I'm feeding them every few days, that's like $10/wk. on sugar. No thanks. My dog doesn't even get that treatment.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,318

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    Feeders that will hold 1 gal. or more are good when you want to have the bees store a lot of food in a short time, but to cause the queen to lay or to cause the wax builders to draw comb, a quart jar with 1 or 2 holes in the lid and placed over the hole in the inner cover will do a better job and use much less syrup.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Bloomington In
    Posts
    787

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    As far as cheap, it's close to 5 lb. of sugar for each gallon of 1:1 I put in there. At 2.69 for 5 lbs., feeding both hives even once a week is over $5, and if I'm feeding them every few days, that's like $10/wk. on sugar. No thanks. My dog doesn't even get that treatment.
    No one ever said beekeeping was a cheep hobby.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    No one ever said beekeeping was a cheep hobby.
    Getting to be like polo.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,744

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    Just stop then. No biggie.... they will adapt quickly without it.
    You can actually become syrup bound and cause the queen to have no place to lay. Not a good thing.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    Ooh. You're right. I forgot about the honey boundedness. That's it. Tomorrow if it's nice weather I'm going down into the 6 super hive and lifting some honey frames out for the weaker hive. Last time I went in there a week or so ago, 2 frames in the 2nd super from the bottom I believe were connected by comb, when I lifted one frame out, the comb, FULL of honey, broke apart.

    I think I'll lift a brood frame or 2 out of there too.

    Year #2, learning curve still steep.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Harrisonburg Va
    Posts
    172

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    You mean a frame FULLof sugar syrup

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    "You mean a frame FULLof sugar syrup"

    Well, yeah, but only the bees know that and they're not talking.

    I'd like not to feed them syrup at all, but I have to figure out how to do that and still have them live.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    >I always heard - feed them till they don't want anymore.

    You certainly didn't hear it from me. Or from Miller...

    "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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    But, this was one new package, and one that came out of winter with a tiny cluster, even combined with the other tiny cluster, so it was on life support. Wouldn't you think feeding would apply here?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    But, this was one new package, and one that came out of winter with a tiny cluster, even combined with the other tiny cluster, so it was on life support. Wouldn't you think feeding would apply here?
    I would have fed them until two conditions were met: 1) there was an adequate field force to gather nutrition for the colony and 2) there was sufficient natural forage to meet the bees' nutritional needs. In the springtime I like to see capped honey/syrup enough to last for a couple of weeks should the weather be bad and foraging not happen.

    You may choose to feed if you are expecting the bees to do something like draw foundation and have reason to believe that the bees are not capable of gathering enough natural resources to accomplish what you want.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    Someone above mentioned buckwheat. I enjoy my little plot of it because the bees loves it and from morning till noon are all over it. I do not plant enough to influence the taste, but I love watching the bees and you can hear the sound of the bees flying in and around it. Here is an interesting article I found on it: http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/PC_91822.html?s=0

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,149

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    AR Beekeeper - Feeders that will hold 1 gal. or more are good when you want to have the bees store a lot of food in a short time, but to cause the queen to lay or to cause the wax builders to draw comb, a quart jar with 1 or 2 holes in the lid and placed over the hole in the inner cover will do a better job and use much less syrup.

    I totally agree, in addition I think that a small amt of supplemental feeding can help a hive forage more in low flow periods. That is my observation anyway. Hard to go to work when you are starving. Obviously oppinions differ - I suspect that the reality also differs depending on location.


    Birdman - No one ever said beekeeping was a cheep hobby.

    Beekeeping is a hobby which can make money if you make that a goal. If you don't then it won't. But most any endeavor involves some up front investment in time and treasure before there's a payoff.

    Also, if you have one strong hive, and one weak hive - assuming neither one is sick - you will maximize growth, and manage both robbing and swarming by equalizing them as much as possible. Swap frames of brood, bees, comb, stores and locations to get them as identical in size and strength as possible. It will also make it a lot easier to then judge the relative merits of the queens.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    "Someone above mentioned buckwheat."

    Our buckwheat patch is phenomenal. Not only do the honeybees hover over it, but it attracts all kinds of native pollinators. I couldn't count how many varieties of pollinators are on the buckwheat, there are so many. And it blooms continuously, plus you get to play with buckwheat seed, whether to try milling it for flour or using it for future seed.

    Regarding using syrup to help the bees draw foundation, all the frames in my hives were pretty much already drawn, so they didn't have that task. But since the weaker colony did not have a lot of bees, I was figuring there might not be enough worker bees to devote to bringing in pollen/nectar for the hive.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,186

    Default Re: I want to stop feeding (expensive) sugar syrup but they are still sucking it down

    I wouldn't feed unless I ABSOUTLY had too if I paid 2.69 for 5 lbs of sugar, I get 4 lb bags at ruler foods for .89 all day everyday.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads