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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greece, NY, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default entering dearth period - feeder issues

    Hey again everyone,

    So it looks like we're entering a dearth period in my area of Western NY and I've observed the bees, opened up the hives (2) and have seen VERY little pollen collection going on in either hive. It doesn't look like they're building any new comb or putting away new nectar stores compared to the previous inspection. I also just requeened both hives last Wednesday since both hives appeared to be queenless (no evidence of eggs or brood anywhere).

    Last year, there seemed to be a nectar/pollen dearth from July up until late August when the goldenrod kicked into high gear. If when I reinspect the hives this Friday (earliest I can do it) and see evidence of queen activity, I want to make every effort to keep things going strong until the goldenrod starts.

    Should I put a feeder on each hive? I have a screened bucket feeder and a hive top feeder. I don't have a faith in the bucket, since the screened plug fell out of the lid earlier in June when I tried to remove it to refill it while attempting to feed a swarm I had just hived 2 weeks earlier (it was intact after the first refill). As for the hive top feeder, how do I encourage/entice the bees to use it? I ask this because when we used one 8 years ago, it was a bust.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,566

    Default Re: entering dearth period - feeder issues

    I've seen fairly broodless hives here from the beginning of July through mid August -- pretty much nothing for them to collect, and a locally aclimatized queen will stop raising brood for a while.

    If you want to feed, I highly recommend the plastic molded hivetop feeders with a screened center section -- the bees rarely drown, they get all the syrup, and they can't get out. If you have a good cover, none can get in from out side, either.

    However, if they have shut down brood rearing they may not take syrup if they have adequate stores, they will just wait around until there is a real nectar flow. I had to add some apple cider vinegar to my syrup a couple years ago to get a swarm to feed up for winter. They did just find, and pulled down something like 7 gallons of 1:1 in a week once I got them started.

    Lack of pollen in the hive will result in a dead hive over the winter -- keep an eye on them and don't hesitate to feed some Mega Bee or Bee Pro if they start brooding up and don't start hauling copious amounts of pollen in. Protein starvation in February kills lots of hives, I suspect.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: entering dearth period - feeder issues

    Is there anything else one can feed other than sugar water. It seems that syrup goes bad rather quickly around here.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    richland center, wisconsin USA
    Posts
    311

    Default Re: entering dearth period - feeder issues

    Quote Originally Posted by wild-b View Post
    Is there anything else one can feed other than sugar water. It seems that syrup goes bad rather quickly around here.
    a drop of apple cider vinegar can help with that situation...
    "Anytime you see someone more successful than you are, they are doing something you aren't."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: entering dearth period - feeder issues

    If you make the syrup very strong (2:1 or so) it will keep much longer. If you add some ascorbic acid (enough to lower the pH to 4.5 or so) it will keep longer. If you add apple cider vinegar, or anything with much odor, in my experience you'll get a feeding frenzy which will spill over into a robbing frenzy, especially in a dearth...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: entering dearth period - feeder issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you make the syrup very strong (2:1 or so) it will keep much longer. If you add some ascorbic acid (enough to lower the pH to 4.5 or so) it will keep longer. If you add apple cider vinegar, or anything with much odor, in my experience you'll get a feeding frenzy which will spill over into a robbing frenzy, especially in a dearth...
    what about just granulated sugar in the feeder. will it work during a dearth

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: entering dearth period - feeder issues

    Assuming full access to the feeder, yes it will keep them from starving in a dearth, but it is not likely to cause comb building if that is the goal.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,566

    Default Re: entering dearth period - feeder issues

    White vinegar will help with the syrup spoiling, but what I do is only feed a quart or two at a time. Mine will take that up in a day or two, so there is no problem with spoilage. I'm going to have to check, I think I may stop feeding soon if they have that second medium full. No point in ruining any fall honey, and I have plenty of drawn comb to put on them.

    Peter

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