I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...
Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 73
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Cobden, IL, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    So far, my hives are two deeps and 1 medium. I have been feeding them about 2 quarts each per day since installation (May 18). Missed a few days, but pretty consistent.

    The second deep is full of honey, and there is brood in the medium super now. I haven't looked at the lowest deep in a while, because I didn't want to disrupt them too badly. I kept feeding them, because they kept taking it, and I wanted to help them with drawing comb (though they are done now). I haven't weighted them because I'm not sure how yet.

    I wasn't planning on taking any honey this year (1st year), and don't have a setup to do so yet. There are a lot of bees, and they still take all the sugar water. They seem very healthy.

    Is this a problem? How do I correct at this point?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    beaver county pa usa
    Posts
    394

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    First you do not have true honey in the super you have sugar honey You need to stop feeding and look to see if the queen has any room to lay I have a feeling that they probably have backfilled the comb I don't know what kind of fall flow you have but if you may have created a situation where they may swarm on you. If it were me I would look through the hive and if it is backfilled and maybe take out a couple of deep frames and extract them then put them back in the middle of the second deep giving your queen room.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    4,323

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Feeding coupled with natural nectar flows surely have your hives "honeybound". In your case "sugar syrup bound". lol
    Get in there a do a full hive inspection. Post pics when you are finished.
    In a perfect situation, the lowerd deeps should be filled with brood and the medium filled with honey. It is backwards in your case due to the constant feeding and leaving no place for the queen to lay.
    You should have about 40-50k of bees per hive going into winter.
    I'm not sure where beekeepers get the notion to "feed until they no longer take it". It's a falsehood. Bees are wired to store nectar and pollen and will do so as long as it is available to them even at their own demise. I will emergency feed them only if they have to have it to survive. Most nectar flows are enough for the bees to survive. You may get an odd year or two every blue moon where they need assistance, but it's rare.
    BTW, you will have plenty of "honey" to take if you do a full inspection. Get ready to crank up the extractor. My guess is that you are set up for the crush and strain method though. lol

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,411

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    I would say they have been overfed. In her search for a place to lay, the Queen has moved up into the medium as it was being drawn. Bees are greedy creatures who will keep taking what they are given as long as they have a place to put it. If they run out of room they could swarm, even this time of year, and you don't want that.
    To say the deep is full of honey is probably a misnomer. It is probably full of sugar syrup, although you didn't say you were feeding them syrup, I am assuming so.
    You should stop feeding if your brood boxes are full of syrup (honey bound) , because the Queen needs room to lay a few rounds of brood to gain enough population to make a large enough cluster to make it through Winter.
    You really need to know what is happening in both deep brood boxes and the medium in order to make any sound decisions. How many frames are covered with bees? Hopefully there is capped brood in the deep brood boxes and if so how many frames? Is there any uncapped brood?
    You may be right on track, but if I were you I would want to know for sure. You will have to dig a little deeper. I try to keep my intrusions into the brood boxes to a minimum, also, but sometimes you just have to know what is going on in there.
    My Queens began the buildup for the Fall flow and Winter about three weeks ago which is a little earlier than usual.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,794

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    I would want to see the bottom deep full of brood with the second deep and the medium full of honey. constant feeding since may is a lot of feeding. Sounds to me like the bees backfilled the lower deep and the queen had to move to the top to find space to lay. If this split up the brood nest they could end up making queen cells in one or the other of the boxes with brood. You could switch the medium to the bottom of the hive and stop feeding. This puts the queen back at the bottom and also allows the bees to use up some of the honey hopefully opening up more brood space. Putting another medium on may do that also.
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,530

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    I would stop feeding, but I don't think it's as bad a situation as some posters seem to feel.

    I would also look in each box. I don't get the idea of not looking in the brood boxes because you don't want to disturb them. You need the information that looking will provide.

    Although it's likely to be considered complete heresy by some, if your brood is only in the medium, and there is any space in the bottom box, I would move the medium below the lowest deep, leaving the current upper deep as the final top box. That way the queen has a bit more space to lay (in the not-totally filled frames of the current bottom box) and the top box is straight across stores. That's a pretty good set-up for winter. The bees will deal with the change just fine. Running a medium as the bottom box sometimes happens if you are using it as a pollen box. It's not the end of the world, even if that's not what you intended - you can just give them a new medium as a super next year. All of my stacks have a medium as the lowest box, on purpose, even though they have at least three deeps above, sometime five of them.

    Whatever their planned configuration, I encourage my beginners to feed until they have enough drawn frames for a good wintering size, then stop. If they want to give the bees a boost to draw some additional super frames that's OK. But it's time to stop, now.

    Enj.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Cobden, IL, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Well, as you know, they will build comb between box. My husband would see the ripped up comb, etc. and say we shouldn't disturb the bees. I wish I hadn't listened to him (now I'm not sure what is going on), but overfeeding was my own fault. I didn't realize they would just keep saving it, to the detriment of the queen. I thought they would slow down on it, and then I would know to stop, and they never really did.

    I will do a full inspection today. I don't want to just scrape out (so they don't have to start fresh, I use wired beeswax), so I'm going to try a DIY extractor like the second one here:


    http://www.plantertomato.com/2010/09...or-for-28.html

    Depending on what's in the bottom deep, I will take a full deep of honey, put the medium on the bottom, and the empty deep in the middle. How does that sound? Or should I only do a couple of frames?
    Last edited by gwenceles; 09-05-2016 at 07:39 AM.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
    Posts
    2,461

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Honey bound hives go ballistic next spring so maybe you should start preparing for the new colony (baby).
    Was gifted two honey bound colonies last June. (15 months ago).
    They were both honey bound on day one. Could not get it moved up so they sat on it all winter. Both hives exploded this spring.
    They made a lot of honey this year on top of being split. Turned into 4 honey making beasts.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,411

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    The comb between the boxes is often referred to as bridge or burr comb around here, and is normal. A lot of the time it is Drone size. I clean it off because I wouldn't want to accidentally trap the Queen when putting the hive back together. If you scrape it off put it in a can or jar for later examination for mites. It can be an indicator of a problem. I have read that SHB are attracted to the smell of comb and all that it contains is the main reason I put it in a can. I drink the cheap coffee that still comes in cans, so that is what I use. LOL
    It sounds like good advice from the other posters.

    Good luck,
    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,125

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Quote Originally Posted by gwenceles View Post
    So far, my hives are two deeps and 1 medium. I have been feeding them about 2 quarts each per day since installation (May 18). Missed a few days, but pretty consistent.
    that's a little over 500 lbs of feed per hive in less than 4 months. i didn't realize a colony could use that much.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,125

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Quote Originally Posted by gwenceles View Post
    I will do a full inspection today.
    what did you find with your inspection?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Cobden, IL, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    what did you find with your inspection?
    They were very defensive, and there are a LOT of bees. But the second bottom seems to be all honey/syrup as well (I didn't pull every frame). I am going to try again on Saturday. It's very difficult because I'm never seen them be so aggressive before.

    I am really concerned now. I ordered some better protective gear for my husband, but I think I will just have to go it alone if it's not here by Saturday.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,456

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    did you smoke them?

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Cobden, IL, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    did you smoke them?
    Yes, they were still trying to sting through gloves, we both got stung on the hands. I smoked through the entrance, but they went crazy when we separated the bottom deep from the top. I was thinking of trying to spray with sugar water as an alternative? I read they get focused on cleaning.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,125

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    understood. i wondered if there might have been some passive robbing going on that would account for so much syrup having been consumed, and if there has been robbing that could explain some of the defensiveness. hopefully they are still queenright and have some brood in the lower box. thanks for the report and i hope it goes well for ya'll on saturday.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Cobden, IL, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    understood. i wondered if there might have been some passive robbing going on that would account for so much syrup having been consumed, and if there has been robbing that could explain some of the defensiveness. hopefully they are still queenright and have some brood in the lower box. thanks for the report and i hope it goes well for ya'll on saturday.
    Thanks. It seemed like a lot of syrup to me. I asked the local bee club (back at the end of June), and they said that the heat might account for some of the excessive sugar consumption. They said they would slow down, but they never really did, so I kept feeding. I feel really stupid now, but I never read about honeybound hives, and honestly didn't know they would do that.

    One way or another, I am getting some frames out on Saturday and extracting. I just hope there is still time to fix this.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    St.Peters, MO
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Quote Originally Posted by gwenceles View Post
    Yes, they were still trying to sting through gloves, we both got stung on the hands. I smoked through the entrance, but they went crazy when we separated the bottom deep from the top. I was thinking of trying to spray with sugar water as an alternative? I read they get focused on cleaning.
    -
    My bees were more aggressive than usual a couple weeks ago; but I went in Tuesday and they were very docile.
    -
    Main difference I noticed was that when they were aggressive; it was a cooler day and overcast.(only time I had to inspect) so I suspect a lotta bees were home and bored with nothing to do.......except come after me.
    -
    When they were docile on Tuesday; we had a 102 heat index and sunny; and there was TONS of activity.......no bored bees I suspect. On this day; I didn't bother smoking at all; didn't need it, just kept it lit and close by.
    -
    The sugar spray trick works pretty good too if they get aggressive and the smoke doesn't deter them. It especially works great if I have some rogue bees follow me long after closing up the hive and walking away. They tend to hover around my face when following me; and that's where I spritz them with a sugar water mist; they quickly lose interest in me.
    -
    I'm a couple hours north of you and with the weather just cooling off; it would probably be best to wait for the hottest, sunniest time of day to inspect?.........at least that's how I coordinate my inspects when I can now.
    -
    Good luck, and keep us posted!:-)

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Cobden, IL, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Not as bad as I thought. Having better protection has certainly helped with our confidence. They were also not as cranky as last week, although they got worse toward the end.

    The medium super brood was hatching when we inspected (really cool to watch). I didn't see the queen though, but as I said, there are a ton of bees there, so it's hard to look. I didn't see new eggs, but it was probably really early, and I'm not too good at spotting them yet.

    There is capped brood in the bottom deep, while the second deep is indeed all honey/syrup. It was in the center, and we got overwhelmed last week before we could check every frame.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,125

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    great news. it's interesting that you have brood in the top and bottom boxes with solid honey in the middle box. it makes me wonder if you might have 2 queens in there. i'm kinda surprised that having continuous feed on all summer didn't push them to swarm along the way. thanks for the update.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Cobden, IL, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: I think I fed my bees too much sugar water...

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    great news. it's interesting that you have brood in the top and bottom boxes with solid honey in the middle box. it makes me wonder if you might not have 2 queens in there. i'm kinda surprised that having continuous feed on all summer didn't push them to swarm along the way. thanks for the update.
    Perhaps they did, and I didn't notice? But it is very high population (to me anyway), and I never saw a sudden significant drop, which I was expecting with a swarm. They started out with a package on May 18 with wired beeswax foundation, added the second deep on June 26, and added the medium super in mid July.

    The population is huge compared to before (we are looking at the old videos, and even a few weeks ago, there were a lot less bees). I guess they could swarm now as well?

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •