Fall Dry sugar Feeding
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North East, OH
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    298

    Default Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    I cut WAY back on feeding this year (going more natural). Took my supers off earlier and most all my hives are ready for winter. However, I have a one hive that needs a bit of help (two late season swarms I put together), and suspect they need a bit of feed to make it thru the winter.

    I know in the winter about the dry mtn camp method - so how about me just giving them dry sugar now?

    I know I could mix it into 2:1, but I'm really lazy (actualy my brother has my feed mixing pot) and thinking - heck - if they work the dry sugar then all is good === right?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Motley County, Texas
    Posts
    507

    Default Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    I have dry suger on four hives right now and for my bees, they're taking it very slowly, much slower than had I mixed it 2:1. That may just be my bees though.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    piedmont s.c.
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    243

    Smile Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    beekeeper; do they have a good water supply? it is needed for dry feed.good luck rock.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    2,425

    Default Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by pokerman11 View Post

    I know I could mix it into 2:1, but I'm really lazy (actualy my brother has my feed mixing pot) and thinking - heck - if they work the dry sugar then all is good === right?
    Not right, in my opinion.

    Why not just give them the liquid now so they can pack their empty cells with it before they need to cluster? Working the dry sugar now is an inefficient use of their limited pre-clustering time. They have to go out and collect the water and mix that dry sugar with it so they can store it away in a usable form. You can do this for them in a few minutes and they won't have to bust their little bee butts from now to winter with less chance of surviving.

    The dry sugar method is an emergency feeding method. Being lazy or someone else having your favorite mixing pot should not be an emergency for your bees. Get another pot from the kitchen and give those girls some syrup!

    Wayne

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    piedmont s.c.
    Posts
    243

    Smile Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    he is in texas and has time, Im with you I mix mine and am feeding right now , sence he has used dry sugar I told him to give them water,pokerman is in O.H.dont know how much time he has but sugar water is faster and easyer on the bees .good luck rock.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    4,265

    Default Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    The dry sugar method is an emergency feeding method.
    Get stirring!
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    The point of dry sugar (other than less work than candy boards) is that bees can eat it when its freezing out, when liquid would be too cold. I don't think they can make liquid stores of it and put it in their cells, which is the best option all the way around.

    (BTW, 'going natural' would be not pulling supers. You create an unnatural stress to your bees by removing honey, so you should probably help them out a little to even the balance.)

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,668

    Default Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    Bees will often haul dry sugar out, thinking it is trash. This is one of the reasons it is recommended to dribble a little water on the pile of dry sugar, just to get the bees to realize it is sugar and not trash. In the wintertime, the water vapor from the bee cluster is absorbed by the sugar.

    (actualy my brother has my feed mixing pot)

    For small batches, mix sugar water in a kool-aid pitcher. Or use a clean plastic bucket. You don't need any special feed mixing pot for mixing sugar and water together.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    They won't store the sugar, but they will eat it as they need it. Yes a little water on it will get them interested and keep them from hauling it out for trash. The big advantage (besides not having to make syrup) is that it doesn't tend to set off robbing. It is a bit messy to clean up in the spring, but they hives usually seem to be strong and that's not a bad thing...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,227

    Default Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by pokerman11 View Post
    I cut WAY back on feeding this year (going more natural).
    In what way is dumping granulated sugar on their heads as more natural way? When since the last ice age have bees stored granulated anything above their broodnest?

    Bees store their reserves in the combs, ready to use for winter feed. They don't have to break cluster to get it. They don't have to have an active cluster to get it. With their stores in the comb, they can have a tight, quiet cluster going through winter...which is exactly as it should be. If you feed them now what they need, there will be no need to add sugar and the bees will be better off for it.

    I hate to open up this argument again, but why not follow the bees' lead. Dumping sugar on them is a band-aid approach to beekeeping. Band-aid approaches will eventually come back and bite you on the butt.

    Bees make better beekeepers than beekeepers make bees.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North East, OH
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: Fall Dry sugar Feeding

    I’m not really lazy, was just being jovial.

    Personally, I don’t believe in feeding sugar anymore. It’s not really natural, and I’m working my methods so that the bees don’t need feed. I think if you need to feed, then you create other longer term problems. The exception to this feeding rule for me is Nucs. That is what this hive is a NUC that I collapsed with a late season swarm. I just know they don’t have enough stores to make spring. I restricted the growth of the bees in the NUC all summer, and feel it’s my responsibility for me to feed them so they make spring. Next year, I will save a few frames of honey for this as I plan on having at least one nuc every year. (Having a Nuc is very handy supporting for my other 10 hives). My other hives had plenty of time to create their own stores, the weaker (newer)ones I never superd, but they are on their own - no feed from me.

    Now, It is really wet here. Northern Ohio is cold/wet, and right now really wet - did I mention it's wet here (and my bees are 50yards from a swamp). What I did not know is if the bees would take dry sugar. Sure I can mix 2:1, but dry sugar is more dense and if they work it, perhaps there will be some side benefits of humid reduction in the hive. No it’s not natural, but neither is 2:1, natural nectar is 1:4, but I know bees take honey from other hives, so they can take a more dense product. I also know they take dry sugar as in Mtn Camp method, so that leave me back to why not use dry sugar right now? There is no other nectar source right now, but lots of water everywhere.

    I started this post as curious to see if others have fed dry except for winter emergency use, seems like some are.

    I'm going to play around with some dry sugar, with a bit of food coloring in it. I'll see where it ends up. In a week or two if I don't see any in the stores, I'll swap them to 2:1

    thanks for the info folks - always a treat

    -jp
    Last edited by pokerman11; 10-06-2010 at 10:53 AM.

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