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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Sugar Water almost gone - do I re-fill it?

    I started with 3 quarts on Saturday April 12th. Last night Tuesday, April 22nd, it was almost all gone. I have capped brood and larvae, and I see plenty of nectar in cells. I didn't notice capped honey yet. Should I refill the sugar water or let them go on their own at this point?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Sugar Water almost gone - do I re-fill it?

    I would feed, at least until you had some capped, unless there is a major nectar flow going on there.
    16 y, 30 hives ULBN, treat when needed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Re: Sugar Water almost gone - do I re-fill it?

    I would stop. There should be enough nectar coming in to support your hive at this point. The numbers have gone down since you installed the package and the probably don't have a ton of comb to store the sugar. At this time I would rather have room for the queen to put in eggs then to put in sugar water. In a couple weeks two things will happen, you will start getting new bees and you probably will have decent nectar flows. So the hive should start to grow again and there would be no reason to feed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,709

    Default Re: Sugar Water almost gone - do I re-fill it?

    Ahhh, variety is the spice of life, 'they' say.


    If you tell us how many bars have combs built and how big those combs are you might get more suggestions, too.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    762

    Default Re: Sugar Water almost gone - do I re-fill it?

    I have a similar question. Package installed April 5, were queenless and built zero comb until April 16. Saw eggs and comb on April 20. As of April 22 they have about two fully drawn combs and are starting on the third. They've been taking about 24 oz syrup every two days. Weather takes a wet/cooler turn here in eastern Iowa after this weekend again. I do not know how much comb they have filled with syrup as I have not really looked through the hive that throughly.

    I refilled on the 22nd, was thinking that the back comb felt very heavy so I wonder if they have it filled with syrup. I may pull the combs on Friday or Saturday and will not fill until then so they'll most likely be empty for about a day. I don't want them to flood all the comb they have with syrup and end up not having enough space to get a good start after a very rocky beginning.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: Sugar Water almost gone - do I re-fill it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Top Bar View Post
    I started with 3 quarts on Saturday April 12th. Last night Tuesday, April 22nd, it was almost all gone. I have capped brood and larvae, and I see plenty of nectar in cells. I didn't notice capped honey yet. Should I refill the sugar water or let them go on their own at this point?
    Last year, I got a nuc, and someone advised me to feed until the bees had 20 bars of drawn comb. Doesn't have to be full of stores, just drawn. I didn't, and things were ok. But I think they would've stored a lot more honey during the fall flow if I had fed them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Sugar Water almost gone - do I re-fill it?

    Thanks guys. I have 3 hives running and they each have a minimum of 4 drawn comb. The most successful hive has about 6 drawn.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Re: Sugar Water almost gone - do I re-fill it?

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitveggirl View Post
    Last year, I got a nuc, and someone advised me to feed until the bees had 20 bars of drawn comb. Doesn't have to be full of stores, just drawn. I didn't, and things were ok. But I think they would've stored a lot more honey during the fall flow if I had fed them.
    They would have stored a lot of sugar if you would have fed them until they had 20 bars drawn. You need a lot of bees to draw comb, if you don't have enough bees of the right age the sugar water ends up in the comb versus being used to draw new comb. Once summer hits they will draw very little new comb. So instead of putting nectar in the comb you will end up with sugar in the comb.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: Sugar Water almost gone - do I re-fill it?

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    They would have stored a lot of sugar if you would have fed them until they had 20 bars drawn. You need a lot of bees to draw comb, if you don't have enough bees of the right age the sugar water ends up in the comb versus being used to draw new comb. Once summer hits they will draw very little new comb. So instead of putting nectar in the comb you will end up with sugar in the comb.
    That's what I thought would happen, but it didn't. Because there was plenty of forage when I got them, I didn't feed, and they were storing some honey. Then when the really hot part of summer hit, the bees stopped building anything at all, and they ate up all the nectar as well as the tiny bit of capped honey that was in the hive. So I fed them for a couple of weeks until the goldenrod started blooming. They built comb like crazy, but they didn't store much of the syrup. In September, they started bringing in more nectar, but they were very light on stores, so I fed them heavily in October. That's when they started storing syrup.

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