should bees be fed during "summer dearth"? - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Baldwin, Wisconsin
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: should bees be fed during "summer dearth"?

    I'm with him. One or two 1/2 gallon jars with a couple of small holes punched in the lid gives them the necessary feed without them sucking it down 'way too fast. You have to fab a shim with a piece of 1/4" plywood fastened to it and a hole bored in just smaller than the lip (rim) of the lid so the jar can stick down into the top box with a small gap under the jar lid, and then put an empty box on top of the shim to cover the jars, but if you want to control how quickly they take the syrup this is the way to do it.
    I might use a top feeder in the early spring if I am establishing a new hive from a package and they need to make a lot of comb, otherwise I agree, only for fall when I want them to take a gallon or two in a week. For a new hive, after a couple of weeks I will change from the top feeder over to a jar and keep them at a 1/2 gallon every couple of weeks, that's enough for them to build up the colony without overdoing it and backfilling. Otherwise it's swarm city.

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Chico, California
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: should bees be fed during "summer dearth"?

    Good to know !

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Palos Verdes, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,277

    Default Re: should bees be fed during "summer dearth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If there is a door it's accessible to robbers... reducing the entrance will help. Robber screens will help. I don't like a top feeder for feeding at times other than the fall. In the fall if they are light you are trying to get a lot of stores on quickly. Any other time when they should be rearing some brood, it clogs the brood nest to feed a lot quickly and sets the colony back when the queen can't lay. Of course a dearth sometimes sets them back as well if the queen shuts down. A slower method of feeding is better during a dearth in my opinion.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm
    Yes, I think I killed a colony by feeding while they were queenless (though I didn't know it at the time).

    I put a jar feeder on top of the colony, and it was drained in half a day. I did it a few more times, and then when I opened up the hive it was nearly empty of food and of bees.

    The curious thing is that I was feeding all 6 of my colonies, so the robbers had plenty of syrup available right above them. Why would they go next door if they have food at home? Darn Italians!

    Of course this assumes that the robbers were coming from my other colonies. I suppose they could have been coming from anywhere.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: should bees be fed during "summer dearth"?

    Why not feed them Lauri's sugar bricks instead.
    I plan to give them the bricks on this summer dearth. But so far
    with the excess winter rains the trees are still blooming. I think I need to
    supplement plant some more.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  6. #25
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,678

    Default Re: should bees be fed during "summer dearth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by mlanden View Post
    OK -- re: precautions, would I need to do anything special? I'm using a 1.5 gal capacity frame feeder in the upper deep, so .... that shouldn't be accessible to robbers, should it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If they are low on stores, you may need to feed. If they are not low on stores, I would not. A dearth is one of the worst times to feed but also a time you may need to. If you have to feed in a dearth take precautions against robbing.
    Mlanden, reading your posts in their entirety, you want to feed. You don't need to feed at this time. You shouldn't feed at this time. Michael's post is short and pregnant with good advice. It bears rereading.

    Your bees have plenty of food to make it through your summer dearth. If you are in a suburban area, your bees will probably actually add stores from ornamental flowers and weeds, rather than lose stores, during the summer "dearth". You will likely have a fall flow of goldenrods and asters. You certainly don't need to feed the bees at this time. Unlike winter, in the summer, you can easily check your stores and feed the bees if you need to. I would pull the feeders out of the hives if they are in there and use that space for frames. Most of my frame feeders are gathering dust in the barn still in the cardboard box they came in. You will have plenty of times to feed the bees with your frame feeders in the future if you want to. If you do feed, keep your entrance around four square inches so the bees can defend it.
    David Matlock

  7. #26
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Durham, CA, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: should bees be fed during "summer dearth"?

    This was really helpful. Thanks.

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Hartford Ohio
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: should bees be fed during "summer dearth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsof View Post
    I'm with him. One or two 1/2 gallon jars with a couple of small holes punched in the lid gives them the necessary feed without them sucking it down 'way too fast. You have to fab a shim with a piece of 1/4" plywood fastened to it and a hole bored in just smaller than the lip (rim) of the lid so the jar can stick down into the top box with a small gap under the jar lid, and then put an empty box on top of the shim to cover the jars, but if you want to control how quickly they take the syrup this is the way to do it.
    I might use a top feeder in the early spring if I am establishing a new hive from a package and they need to make a lot of comb, otherwise I agree, only for fall when I want them to take a gallon or two in a week. For a new hive, after a couple of weeks I will change from the top feeder over to a jar and keep them at a 1/2 gallon every couple of weeks, that's enough for them to build up the colony without overdoing it and backfilling. Otherwise it's swarm city.


    Where do you get 1/2 gallon jars?

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