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  1. #1
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    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    Default How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    I was curious about what people felt the max amount of sugar per hive, if you had to feed 365 days out of the year....

    Obviously, you'd hope for the bees to gather nectar and be self sufficient, but I'm curious if I overloaded an area to raise nucs/queens.

    How much sugar per hive would I expect to have to feed. 50lbs? 100lbs? 200lbs? More/Less?

    Thanks for your time.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    3,876

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    This is a "What if Lois Lane blew up and earth went to Krypton question, but here goes. Bees when broodless and in the cold seem to get by on 8 or 9 pounds of honey a month. When the days start lengthening and the bees start raising brood that amount doubles and triples. But if they have no pollen/protein available that can't continue long as the in hive supply of pollen will soon be exhausted.

    Are you imagining a year long dearth? Is pollen coming in but not nectar? The answer I guess is that your bees would soon die if fed nothing but sugar; when their pollen stores were exhausted and they could no longer raise replacement bees. Even the best pollen subs cannot maintain a colony more than a couple brood cycles. My apologies to the members who produce suppliments. You may correct me if you think it appropriate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lee County, Illinois
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    112

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    What is over loading a area in your opinion? What size hive are we talking? 3 deep frame nucs for mini or what, that will effect amount of bees, in turn changing the amount of food needed.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Thanks for the feed back...

    No, I'm not expecting a year long dearth... I'm "theory" crafting on what it would cost to feed the bees after the area reaches critical mass.. I completely understand that it depends on the size the hive, type of bees, temps, forage etc....

    But I assumed that someone here has feed bees over an extended period of dearth, so that I can get some "rough" ideas about feed requirements.. Either build up to go into almonds, or splits post almonds.

    I'm not even sure how many hives you can put on a place before it reaches critical mass. I.e. the bees survive/thrive, but don't make excess honey... Since they fly the 5 or less mile radius, where I expect the prefer to be less than 1-2 miles..

    I asked, because I plan on planting 90 acres full of random bee/deer/fruit trees... I plan on putting a bunch of bees on to sell queens/nucs.. I'll still have out yards and all that stuff.... But it might be cheaper to feed the home yard vs driving to a bunch of out yards, when dealing with the mating nucs/splits.

    Again, I'm purely asking questions... And I know that people can't answer without knowing the area/climate. So that's why I asked for an idea on feed requires if their was no nectar.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heintz88 View Post
    What is over loading a area in your opinion?
    In my area, last year I saw less honey after I went from 20 to 40 hives in the yard... Do I think the 20 hives made that big of a difference, I dunno.... Not sure it could have been the weather for the year. On my family land, it's 90 acres of oaks/tulip poplars surrounded by 10+ miles of the same... If the bees don't get out for the early tree blooms, they have to get the other forest/road side flowers.

    I'd "like" to get the point of running 200+ or so mini nucs on the land.... So I'd need the supporting hives for grafting, cell building and drones. I have out yards on three corners ~2 miles from the 90 acres that I could also put drone colonies.

    I also have another 3-400 acres that I can play on.... So I probably wouldn't overload the area to the point that I'd feed every day, but I need to account for "worst" case scenarios... If that makes sense.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    744

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Kevin there is a figure somewhere in print about the consumption of honey per day per adult bee. 11 milligrams seems to stick in my memory. If they were raising brood it would be much higher though. I did a quick calculation and it seemed in line with needed stores for wintering. That might be food for thought on arriving at your worst case scenario but do some googling on it. I dont trust my memory entirely so neither should you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,166

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    . Even the best pollen subs cannot maintain a colony more than a couple brood cycles. My apologies to the members who produce suppliments. You may correct me if you think it appropriate.
    No apologies needed, I will however need to unload your gun as I see your foot can't handle any more bullet holes. We produce about 5-7 brood rounds on sub each fall-winter, and they show no slowing down, no short lived bees.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lee County, Illinois
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Well i believe were planning on doing between 20-30 thousand queen bees this season. Our mating boxes are deeps and mediums 3 framers. There will be between 300-500 per yard maybe some more, and in these yards we aren't constantly feeding dry sugar but as needed. My point is that i wouldn't worry about stock piling a ton of sugar and just go to a store and get it as needed. As for honey production, i wouldnt use a single year to determine if your yard has reached saturation or not. Take a 2-5 year average of production. However i wouldnt go over 50 colonies in their forage radius.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    I'm not planning on buying a ton of sugar tomorrow... But I "should" know my rough costs... If you don't know your costs, you don't know what to price your products at...

    Although the market will dictate some of the prices, if you have the numbers to work with. You can decide how and where you need to adapt to make profits back to offset the costs..

    Examples:

    If I know that a hive is going to at "max" take 120lbs of sugar in a year. I can plan on getting at least one split, which would cover the ~60 dollar sugar price.

    If I know that a 5 frame medium nuc will eat 40 lbs of sugar in a year, but that I can mate 6+ queens per nuc. Then I know that the 20$ of sugar cost will be offset by the 120 (20 per) dollars of queen sales.

    If I know that the 4 frame mini nuc will eat 20lbs of sugar in a year, but that I can get the same 6+ queens... My cost per queen went down, since I can now get 12+ ($240) queens for the same 40lbs ($20) of sugar.

    Hopefully that will clarify things... Oh and Keith, I'm still waiting for my trial sample... *grins*
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,605

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Hi Kevin,
    Here I have a dearth from end of July or first of August, until sometimes February. This past couple of summers into fall, I've fed 1 to 1.5 pounds of sugar per nuc per week in syrup form. The nucs were 5 frame mediums in size.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Kevin, in Mid TN you should not need more than 50lb per hive ever. any more than that and your going to be harvesting sugar honey. 10-15 lbs winter emergency, and the rest dearth feeding. I usualy use less than 20 lbs per hive per year.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    3,876

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    No apologies needed, I will however need to unload your gun as I see your foot can't handle any more bullet holes. We produce about 5-7 brood rounds on sub each fall-winter, and they show no slowing down, no short lived bees.>

    Mr. Jarrett, I just go by what I was taught and forgive me for defaming your industry if I indeed have. I just know that I don't start feeding supplement until the bees raised on it and the colonies stored pollen can receive the first pollens of the year from early blooming trees. That is what I have believed to be the best plan.

    Is there a study you might direct me to that covers this nutrition type. Also, are you getting pollen from somewhere in the California winter while I get none from the Montana snow bank? I am always cautious with loaded pistols and feel no holes in my foot yet. I do however freely admit I often shoot off my mouth and regret it later.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    26,776

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    How are you going to know when an area reaches critical mass?

    One feeds when one needs to. Which isn't all year round. Not even most of the year by any means.

    It is always a good idea to understand what you are getting into and what you need to do to prepare for the future. But you may be getting ahead of yourself. Even though you did get a good answer of 20lbs of sugar per hive per year.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
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    784

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    I'm pretty sure that I have fed packages/nucs more than 20lbs per year.... And I don't know how I will know if an area is at critical mass... I'm assuming that when they are still taking syrup in the middle of the flow would be a good marker... Or if the hive doesn't gain weight, or they start dying head first in the comb....
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    26,776

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    When you figure out that critical mass has been met what will you do?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Kevin, it seems to me your missing some key understandings of when and why to feed. No way in heck you should have syrup on hives during a flow... Or maybe I just misunderstood the question?

    If you wondering if how much if they only got sugar, well thats a different answer... One That would depend entirely on how big a hive you wanted. And if I was feeding 24/7 I would want smaller hives.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,330

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Through the winter with little to no brood I figure a 10 lb. feed will last a month. On the other side of the spectrum a prime builder hive in the spring can go through a pound and a half of feed per day during periods when there is no supplemental flow.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,166

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    .

    Is there a study you might direct me to that covers this nutrition type. Also, are you getting pollen from somewhere in the California winter .
    Vance, there are guys that have been putting on sub since July of this year, I just finish last week putting on ten pounds on my bees, its normal out here.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    3,876

    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Thanks Mr. Jarrett. Sorry for semi-hijacking.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How much Sugar per hive, if no nectar.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    Kevin, it seems to me your missing some key understandings of when and why to feed. No way in heck you should have syrup on hives during a flow... Or maybe I just misunderstood the question?

    If you wondering if how much if they only got sugar, well thats a different answer... One That would depend entirely on how big a hive you wanted. And if I was feeding 24/7 I would want smaller hives.
    The whole purpose of this post..... I said in the title... No nectar..... I said farther down that the area would be overloaded with bees.... 200+ mating nucs plus supporting hives.... Possibly more.....

    I don't expect the bees to make an excess, but maybe they can live hand to mouth..... Either way, the whole point of the thread was... What is the max amount of sugar that you "might" have to find a hive... Assuming no nectar.....

    At no point did I say... I have 1 hive in the middle of a nectar rich area and still planning on feeding them 30 gallons of syrup per week.. Sqkcrk asked how I would determine the overloading of bees...

    I see a couple ways to do that.. one they starve and die during the flow.... two they take syrup, which in my experience they fly right past and refuse to take during the flow.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

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