What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Sonoma County, Ca
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    Default What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    Is it weight by lifting the hives or something else.
    If you winter in 2 deeps, what weight do you get to where it becomes necessary to add sugar blocks / mountain camp suger... or feed if you are in a warmer climate?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
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    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    For those of us that use sugar blocks and mountain camp sugar, it is more about insurance than it is about emergency feeding. The ultimate goal is to get your colony up to weight prior to the end of your season and have what is needed by them in the hive for the winter. Then for added insurance either mountain camp on the top bars, or sugar brick. If you're worried about the amount of stores your hive has at this point, it is better to give them more than needed and not worry. However, if you have a day when the temps in your area reach 60 deg or above, crack the hive open and check their stores, just make sure you put the frames back in the same place.
    Thomas Bartram

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    5,400

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    If you are running the proper hive configuration there should be little concern about feeding after you close up your hives for winter. If you find yourself needing to feed every year then you need to rethink your hive configuration, and leave more stores.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    6,585

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norcalkyle View Post
    Is it weight by lifting the hives or something else.
    If you winter in 2 deeps, what weight do you get to where it becomes necessary to add sugar blocks / mountain camp suger... or feed if you are in a warmer climate?
    Yes, tipping will tell someone with experience a lot but just a quick look at your outside frames will tell you most everything you need to know. If they are dry, you'd better dust off the ole feed wagon.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Bellflower, Montgomery,Mo,USA
    Posts
    629

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    I agree with drlonzo. I feed as an insurance and not because they have run out of stores. I also feed now and in late January/early February.These are the times when the queen lays replacement brood to make it through the dearth that is winter.

    I have been keeping bees since 2012 and have not lost a hive, knock on wood. Granted I'm only at 9 hives.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Benton county, Arkansas
    Posts
    838

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    As in any emergency, is easier to avoid it rather than dealing with it. I use sugar blocks so I can sleep better at night. Now if you read some of Lauri's notes she talks about how some hives prefer the blocks to their storages, saving the storages for early spring and emerging stronger during the flow, or something along that line.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
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    6,034

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    I weighed and added the number of gallons of feed I wanted to get them to where I wanted them. Since I don't have a ton of hives, it is easier for me just to put some sugar on "just in case". I weighed a few the other day and they were a little bit lighter than I wanted them to be 135-145# for triple deeps with target of 150# Closed up the last couple last night, did OAV and threw some sugar bricks up top. Top box shows capped honey in the middle... sugar is right there on the top bars. Shouldn't have any issues. Clusters are good sized and they'll probably end up sucking on the sugar blocks and using that instead of their honey if I had to guess. At least some of them will.

    Looking forward to some down time and equipment build time, but anxiously awaiting March's maple bloom!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,748

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    I heft the hives.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    Make sure they are heavy enough going into winter and heft them in the early spring and decide then. In this area they consume about the same amount from Oct-February as they do in March and April.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    2,943

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    It's not the size of the box, it's the size of the colony inside those box's. Also your forecasted available natural feed sources depending on where you live.

    It also depends on if you fed in fall or had a fall flow to add some easily available open feed, not just capped honey weight (above or around bone dry cells).

    Here's a double nuc that got blown over in a recent storm. Both these box's had very good weight and good population of bees.
    But if only the bottom box contained the cluster, I would have been OK with a little less weight.



    If you look closely in the photo above, you can see the scattered remnants of the sugar block. If they had good weight and I knew they were well managed in fall why would I give them a block too?

    Because I've found they will consume and live on the block enthusiastically over winter and leave more of the natural capped feed storage for brood rearing in late winter/early spring. I assume since I am not near any commercial agriculture the pure honey & pollen stored from mostly natural native vegetation is nutrient rich and contaminant light and will be the best nutrition for a good crop of new spring brood.



    If you are unsure it's better to be safe than sorry in my opinion.

    Last edited by Lauri; 12-10-2015 at 01:17 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,487

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    Weight, in the bay area 60# is a good weight. If you lift the back of the hive & it feels light they need sugar.
    I only feed if they need it, or if I'm trying to get them to start brooding up in early January to increase the # of bees.
    Dan

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    3,388

    Default Re: What tells you it's time to do emergency feeding?

    Lift the rear of the hive with one hand. If you can tip it without straining, time to feed.

    I also check the bee escape hole in the inner cover since I use them. If I see bees on a cool day, it means they are at the top of the hive and have eaten all the stores. Saved a couple by immediately putting sugar on.

    Peter

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