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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Neodesha, Ks
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    630

    Default Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    It's the time of the season to check to make sure that your Bee's have enough food to get them through to Spring. I put Dry Sugar on my hives last Friday. It is good Insurance and Sugar is Cheaper than buying more Bee's. You can lift the back side of the hive and get an Idea if they are getting light. If you are not familiar with the MOUNTAIN CAMP METHOD, check out post # 2 on this link. You may be sup-prized at how much sugar they will consume.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...in+camp+method

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,196

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    I agree. There have already been reports of dead outs that probably could have been saved with a bag of sugar and a newspaper.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clover, WV
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    Is there a reason that the sugar has to sit on newspaper? Is that better than a piece of plywood or a 1X12 board? Just curious, because I have scraped plenty of newspaper off old frame freebies.
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    Starting over. >Back up to 9 hives! All cutouts and swarms.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    1,183

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    They eat right through the newspaper when they get to the top of their stores. If it is plywood they need to move around it (break cluster). Wetting the sugar or the paper will turn the sugar solid so it does not rain down on top of them.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clover, WV
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    Quote Originally Posted by minz View Post
    They eat right through the newspaper when they get to the top of their stores. If it is plywood they need to move around it (break cluster). Wetting the sugar or the paper will turn the sugar solid so it does not rain down on top of them.
    Makes sense. Newspaper it is. How about the candy boards like Lauri makes? Can you lay those right across the top bars with a spacer to hold up the roof?
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    Starting over. >Back up to 9 hives! All cutouts and swarms.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    1,122

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    Candy boards and sugar bricks are a lot of unnecessary work and time. News paper and dried sugar are quick and simple.
    Dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,994

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    I have used dry sugar and sugar cakes in feed rims the last couple years with good results. But, I'm a little concerned about this year because this winter has been much colder so far than the previous two winters. It seems that when the temps are above freezing outside the bees will eat the sugar, but will they continue to eat it when the outside temps are really cold, like 20 degrees or less. Seems to me when it gets that cold they would pull away from the sugar and into a tighter cluster between the frames, and possibly starve if they have no other food but the sugar. Has anyone actually seen them feeding on sugar when its extremely cold out?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    1,183

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    Exactly, or if you are doing candy you pour it hot into the inner cover or ‘candy board’ and invert it directly over the cluster. I have found that they eat out the center of the board in this method where as Lauri’s method you can adjust it back over the top. Advantage of the dry sugar method is it absorbs moisture, advantage of the hard candy is that end of the winter you pick them up and melt them for next year. Cub, sounds like you have found the disadvantage of the Mountain camp method; the bees will scrap all of the unused sugar and remove (or propolis) the remaining newspaper in place.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hopkins, South Carolina
    Posts
    592

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    I was feeding my hives fondant on paper or wax paper, they ate it with no problem, so I gave them more. After a few days they plugged the entry trying to get the paper out . Will they do the same thing with Mountain camp method?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    3,701

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bees of SC View Post
    wax paper
    Never used wax paper, but my guess is that the bees would have a much harder time dealing with it compared with standard newspaper. I suggest not using wax paper or any other glossy finish paper. I've never had a problem with standard newspaper clogging the entrance.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    1,122

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    jmgi the bees do not pull away from the dry sugar when temperatures drop. They cluster on the sugar. I have seen them consistently eating the sugar at temperatures much lower than you describe. I have never had the bees plug the entrance with the paper. Any left over sugar come spring is removed and used for syrup. The only time I have had them pack the sugar out is when applied too early in the fall. This year I used wire 1"X2" under the newspaper. This should make removal much simpler.
    Dave

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    2,994

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    Dave, that's good to know that they stay with it when it gets extremely cold, I guess mine will be put to the test here shortly.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    3,146

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    Never used wax paper, but my guess is that the bees would have a much harder time dealing with it compared with standard newspaper. I suggest not using wax paper or any other glossy finish paper. I've never had a problem with standard newspaper clogging the entrance.
    Wax paper is just fine, and is easier to pull out of the hive in the spring.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    but will they continue to eat it when the outside temps are really cold, like 20 degrees or less.(...) Has anyone actually seen them feeding on sugar when its extremely cold out?
    I have seen them actively eating sugar in low negative temperatures. What I observed is they cluster is below the sugar and paper and wraps up around the paper to get to the sugar. Once they eat through the paper they eat out a concavity in the sugar and the cluster is pushed up against the sugar pile from underneath.
    Dan Hayden 5 Years. 10 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    3,533

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    >Candy boards and sugar bricks are a lot of unnecessary work and time. News paper and dried sugar are quick and simple.

    I did the mountain camp one year, and I watched all the bees busy at work dragging all that sugar out the front door and fly far away to drop it. Also found quite a bit in the SBB. I am sure they ate some but not sure how much.

    Last year I cooked candy--what a pain lots of work, and time mixing. Could only make small batches.

    This year I made Lauri's recipe in less than an hour I had a 25 # batch made and rolled out on cookie sheets thin to fit above the inner cover hole, did not want to mess with cooking so I let them air dry for a week, lots of nice sugar bricks that I could select different sizes for different hives. I though then mountain camp took longer.

    Plus I like the ideas of lowering the PH and adding vits & electrolytes. There is a study that shows bees live longer, more brood... when fed sugar syrup with vits & ele, also lot of studies about probitic which are also found in the vits & ele that Lauri listed.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    401

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    Does anyone have a link to Lauri's method? Also, when you are adding the sugar do you put it on top of the supers? Is it going between the top super and the inner cover or above the brood box? You just put down newspaper on this super and then pour sugar on it? Doesn't the temp have to be at least 55 to take off that telescoping cover and inner cover ( or supers) to do that so the bees do not get too cold? Thanks for your help!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,337

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    @SallyD

    Here's the link to the thread w/ Laurie's recipe.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...r-sugar-blocks

    Yes, they go directly on top of the frames, over where ever the cluster is.

    Unless you have a shim or rim make sure your blocks are thin enough to fit within the beespace that you have.

    I live in northern NY and yesterday, with temps less than 20F I topped up my hives' sugar bricks as I may not have chance to get back in for several days, or even a week or more, due to even colder temps predicted (same number but on the OTHER side of zero degress F).

    I do have a shim (1.75" in high), and also a quilt box above. What I did was this: remove telescoping cover and replace it with a polystyrene one (to reduce weight), then quickly lift the quilt box up an inch or so and slide the brick in. It took only a matter of seconds because it's easy to see where my bees are right now (on the sugar like gangbusters, despite having honey below). It wasn't perhaps the best placement but due to the cold and not wanting to prompt bees to leave the hive on such frigid day. I just snugged the new bricks on to the remnants of the previous ones. I may have a brief warm up on Monday AM (to the 40's) so I will go back in then and readjust, and restock again.

    If you just have an inner cover, you could remove the telescoping cover; slide something over the handhold opening on the inner cover to keep the hive air in until the last moment, then briefly lift the inner cover up, set the brick in and close at once. Providing it's not too windy it shouldn't be a problem. I see you are in Atlanta so 50 F probably seems Arctic. When it gets back to 50 here my bees will think it's summer again.

    Enj.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    34,184

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    Seems kind of late to be checking hives for weight to me. Feeding should have been finished w/ before November where I live and probably by Oct. 15.

    If you have deadouts that you think would have been kept alive until now by applying dry sugar on top of newspaper a month ago, that colony was probably going to die anyway.

    Feeding dry sugar on top of paper is done so the bees don't have to break cluster to get to the sugar. I never dampen the sugar. The environment and the bees will do that. And if you dampen the paper before pouring the sugar on it you run the risk of breaking through the paper and dumping sugar down through the bees onto the bottom board.

    But I am not in Kansas. What applies here doesn't necessarily apply where y'all live.
    Mark Berninghausen

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    3,552

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    This is a perpetual argument. Feeding this time of year if the bees are starving or in danger of starving is one thing, planning to feed at this time of year is another. I think, and I have no evidence to support my thinking, that bees do best when they can cluster in combs of their own making amongst stores that they put by for themselves. Carrying Mark's statement a tad further - if the bees were unable to store enough food for themselves to make it through winter, those are genes that should probably be removed from the pool. If you are feeding sugar year after year imnsho (in my not so humble opinion) you are not doing your job as a beekeeper.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    970

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    I agree with the Andrew and Mark. I find that if bees don't put on weight in the fall it might be time to cut them loose. Hive dynamics are different from hive to hive. Some queens stop laying in enough time to adequately add weight while others don't.

    I have added candy boards to some of my lights hives. My lightest hives were the heaviest in November. The clusters are very large meaning lots of mouths to feed. A quandary for sure.
    Check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pearlcityapiary

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    34,184

    Default Re: Don't let your Bee's STARVE!

    My sediments exactly Dewey.

    Just to contradict myself. Feeding now, at this time, can be of benefit to a colony that is at the tops of the frames. Five lbs of dry sugar will give a colony about one month of food. So you will have to go back again in February and feed some more.
    Mark Berninghausen

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