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Thread: feeding bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Pendelton, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default feeding bees

    How would i tell if my hives are starving?? what should i look for?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,051

    Default Re: feeding bees

    Broods frames should have a ring of nectar and pollen around the brood. Capped honey in a narrow ring around that is good. At least some frames of capped stores outside the nest or they are light if not yet starving. They will not necessarily slow up on rearing brood in the summer before starving.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: feeding bees

    Blake,, I would suggest you look up the SC beekeepers association

    http://www.scstatebeekeepers.org/

    and find the closest local club - either Oconee or Pickens county,, and find a mentor to help you,,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,340

    Default Re: feeding bees

    no wet nectar tells you there is no flow, no stored pollen and/or honey tells you they are starving.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Ridgeville, SC, USA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: feeding bees

    Blake....I started this year with 4 nucs. 2 in early March and 2 in early May. I have been feeding 1:1 syrup since I picked them up except for 3 weeks of gallberry flow. The nucs were light this year because of late cold spells. They are all in the second deep and I feed them qt a day. The flow in my area is done until soybean bloom then golden rod. There is enough flowers blooming to keep them from starving and pollen is about year round. I am feeding them now to finish filling the 2nd deep in anticipation of soybean bloom. If your hives have no capped.honey then I suggest feeding them a pint to a quart daily of 1:1. That's of course you don't have honey supers on. Your inspection should tell you the answer. Pollen should not a concern for us but nectar is a premium. I inspect every week to make sure brood nest has not being back filled with syrup. I will be cutting them off soon. Good luck.....make sure you are doing regular inspections , no guessing....we are newbies....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Pendelton, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: feeding bees

    Bkwoodsbees...I started two Packages of bees this year in mid-May and i feed them for a week, then took them off because of the clover flow in my area. The flow is on the tail end now and i have started them back on 1:1 till the fall flow begins. the bees are doing extremely well but i only have one brood box on right now. I really don't know much about using two brood boxes at the moment.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,456

    Default Re: feeding bees

    I would not wait to find my bees starving before I fed them!

    During the spring you probably do not really need to feed, I quit feeding my new package because they were flying like crazy and making drone comb under the feeder instead of eating the syrup. I will start up again soon, the spring flow is tapering off here, and I need them up to weight before winter. Typically it is necessary to feed during the dearth with new hives here, otherwise they go into winter in bad condition, we don't always get a good fall flow.

    As noted above, you should have at least a couple combs of honey and pollen in the hive, and honey above the brood at least in the top brood box if you have two. Less than that, they are short and can actually starve if they don't stop raising brood. We like local queens for that reason, they all shut down brood rearing in August rather than making useless brood and eating all their stores.

    This fall, you will need to check to make sure they have enough stores for winter, I'd guess 80 lbs of honey and plenty of pollen (unless you are in the mountains, then I'd guess 100 lbs), but you should check with local beeks to see what they recommend.

    My rule of thumb for new hives, either swarms or packages, is to feed unless there is a strong flow on until they are up to winter conditions -- I lost my first hive because I thought the soybean honey the put in a super was enough. Wrong, the bottom deep was completely empty and they ate all that soybean honey before October, and didn't have enough bees to keep the wax moths under control in the spring -- or maybe it was hive beetles, at any rate the lost the queen and dwindled away. Won't make that mistake again....

    Peter

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