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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    400

    Default is it possible for the bees to OD on sugar syrup?

    I've been feeding my new colony of bees since I got them in late July to encourage them to draw out comb and build up the brood and stores. They normally go thru about 36 oz in 5 days. 3 days ago I increased the amount of sugar to water ratio and they started sucking down the entire 36 oz in 4 hrs! Yesterday, I found a bunch of dead bees on the modified boardman feeder. Some obviously died by suffocation since the others would not let them get out from under the feeder. But many others were just laying on the landing area dead.

    I made a much more dilute solution this morning (similar to what I had been feeding), and they again sucked it down in 4 hrs but still there were 3 dead bees on the board. There wasn't the terrible feeding frenzy that had happened earlier, but still a lot of activity. Before all this, it was typical for there to be about 6 bees on the feeder at a time. Now there were 100's at the feeder.

    Should I continue to feed or hope that they are built up enough workforce to gather their own stores? I still don't have any full frames of honey for the winter, but at least I now have 5 frames of brood that also have honey and pollen bands. The terrible thing is that I probably lost 100-200 bees yesterday when they got caught up in the feeder.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Old Town, Maine, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: is it possible for the bees to OD on sugar syrup?

    Are you sure that it isn't battling between multiple hives going on, trying to rob the feeder, causing the body count?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    400

    Default Re: is it possible for the bees to OD on sugar syrup?

    positive. I only have one hive and there are not any others in the area that I know of. I'm in a suburban neighborhood. When I first got the bees, I noticed this same behavior. I lost most of my colony during one incident because I was feeding inside the hive and my bees fought to the death. Feeding outside the hive, I figured any neighborhood bees could share the feeder. And it hasn't been a problem again until just a few days ago when I adjusted the sugar ratio.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,298

    Default Re: is it possible for the bees to OD on sugar syrup?

    It sounds like the increased interest/frenzy is likely caused by a dearth of natural forage. One of the most telling indications of a honey/nectar flow, is a low interest in artificial feed. Hence, the recent increased interest in your feed is likely due to less available natural forage.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Palmyra, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: is it possible for the bees to OD on sugar syrup?

    sure sounds like robbing.
    maybe from feral hives.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: is it possible for the bees to OD on sugar syrup?

    I've had the same thing happen on my feeder. Sometimes it's just one or two and other times there'll be a lot of dead bees around the feeder. I figured it's the older bees who basically work until they die. You just don't see the dead ones when they're scattered about.

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