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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    oswego, ny, usa
    Posts
    23

    Default Looking for a little guidance

    So last winter I lost 2 of my 4 hives, definitely a starvation issue, my fault. The other 2 came out of winter ok and I was able to split and recoup my losses. I vowed to not make the same mistake this year. The splits did well and filled 2 deep boxes. I supered them but they did not touch the super, and I checked last week and the deeps felt pretty light. I have never really been able to find an answer to when to actually start fall feeding. I wish there was some info that said "ok in your area you should start on Sept. 15th" That would be great but I realize it depends on a lot of different things. With that said, some of the best info I read said to start feeding the moment you realize they won't have enough for winter. So, yesterday I threw on 2 hive top feeders on the splits with some 2:1 syrup. Now I think they are getting robbed. One hive seems to have taken the "right" amount of syrup. The other is completely empty and I see a ton of bees coming in without carrying anything. There is a lot of activity at the entrance. They are also climbing the hive before they take off. Plus I was amazed they would be able to take all the syrup (we're talking over a gallon) in less than 24 hours. I did not reduce the entrance until today, once I saw what I thought to be robbing. What do you folks think? Sound like robbing? Did I start feeding too early? I realize there won't be a honey crop on these 2 hives so my thought was to feed them like crazy and get them ready for winter. Maybe I should have waited???

    I reduced entrances and covered with sheets for the rest of the evening. My plan is to refill feeders tomorrow morning and with the reduced entrances I'm thinking they won't be robbed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Nassau County, New York, USA
    Posts
    244

    Default Re: Looking for a little guidance

    If your hives are weak it is not too early to feed. However, this time of the year robbing is a major issue. If you are not careful, you can loose hives due to robbing and fighting. Right now I am feeding 2 five frame nucs next to 4 very strong hives and there is no robbibng. I am using Glad zipper sandwich bags that I buy from Costco. I give them a bag around 7 PM and by 7 AM the bag is empty so there is nothing to rob. Reducing the entrance does not work at this time of the year either. You need to put robber screens if you notice robbing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    331

    Default Re: Looking for a little guidance

    My hives will take a gallon a day. Not that unusual for mine. When my hives were robbed last year there was a pile of dead bees on the ground in front of the hives. I was able to put in the reducer to the smallest opening and it stopped, but my hives were pretty strong and able to defend themselves with the smaller entrance. Robber screens work very well...especially when the hive is not that strong. As far as when to feed...there is no calendar date as to when to start. If you need an indicator, build a portable scale as I did and when the hive quits gaining weight you will know that they are no longer bringing in much and they have begun consuming their own honey and winter stores. The Flow around here ends rather abruptly and we have entered a dearth for the rest of the summer...very little comes in, so I've started feeding. I have double deeps and they currently weigh 70-85 lbs. My target weight before winter is 130 lbs, so I'll be feeding for a while. I will open feed for the most part. Any hives that lag behind will get a top feeder until its weight is achieved.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: Looking for a little guidance

    channel12001, I'm about 60 miles south of you in Elmira.

    Goldenrod just started blooming/flowing this week, and I expect you'll see it in Oswego within a week -- if you look, there is probably already a yellow 'haze' on the flower heads as the petal color shows just before the buds open.

    It will probably continue til frost once it starts, and provide plenty of food for winter.

    If they are light at the start of October, you'll be able to make up the shortage w/ 2:1 syrup then. and if you are still worried, you can put a sugar board on.

    As for your robbing issue, I made a vid on a simple way to make and use robbing screens last year:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RqGlXtr4iA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    oswego, ny, usa
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Looking for a little guidance

    Thanks for the suggestions. I went out at 7 this morning and put a couple robbing screens in place. I still have the feed on. The 2 hives are covered with bees. There are tons of bees flying into the screen and most of the foragers with pollen are making there way back down to the entrance. I'm guessing the rest are robbers. I was hoping most of them would give up by now. The one thing I did different when feeding this fall was to put a bit of lemongrass oil in it so that maybe they would take it better. I'm thinking maybe this is just too irresistible to the other bees. I dunno, I have never had robbing issues in the past. I was thinking about giving the feeding a break and letting things return to normal. If I give the feeding a break will the hives continue to get robbed?? Should I leave the screens in place for a couple days after removing the food?? Anything else I should be looking for?? Thanks in advance.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    331

    Default Re: Looking for a little guidance

    Lemongrass oil or Honeybee Healthy will guarantee a robbing frenzy when there is not much in bloom. Keep the screens in place. If you continue to feed, leave out the oil. That's why I like to open feed... You can add the oil because you're feeding away from yor hives and minimizing robbing. The down side is you can't insure all your hives are taking and storing the syrup. The ants don't invade the hives when open feeding either like they will with a top feeder.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    North Andover, MA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Looking for a little guidance

    I has seen suggestions that you can help fight robbing by rubbing something smelly of the outer cover top
    it will help mask the smell of that hive with all the feeding going on. the robbers are responding to smell
    so it makes sense. kerosene, ammonia ???

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: Looking for a little guidance

    I'd leave the screens on for more than a couple of days--
    Leave them until the flow is going strong.

    Smearing kerosene on a hive will likely stop robbing when the bees in the hive abscond due to the fumes.

    The screens will work well without polluting your hives.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Looking for a little guidance

    I noticed a couple weeks ago that my 2 hives were consuming their honey. I started feeding 1:1 and ended up putting about 35 lbs. of sugar into the 2 hives. Last night I mixed up another 25 lbs. of sugar into a 2:1 mix which will put on tonight. I had not known about the supper dearth until I started reading up on why my bees would have consumed their own honey at this time of year. This will be their first winter coming up and I want to make sure that they have all the stores that they need, especially since they have had to expend so much time and energy drawing out comb. I was really surprised now much work and time that took for them. I don't think I have any or much robbing since I have not seen lots of dead bees. Is that a good indicator of robbing?

    David

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