New to feeding bees
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default New to feeding bees

    Very new to beekeeping this year. Just got the hives in September. 4 solid hives. Started feeding syrup as the honey stores looked light. We did not harvest any. We're using a chicken feeder about 30-40 yards from the hives. We're feeding a 2:1 sugar syrup with a few drops of lemongrass oil. We filled the tray with pea gravel to prevent drowning. A few questions for the group:
    1) they've eaten about 2 1/2 gallons in 3 days - doesn't that seem like a lot?
    2) there are a number (20-30) of dead bees on the table supporting the feeder. Not in the syrup. Trying to figure out what may be killing them.. A few Yellowjackets in the mix but don't know if they kill bees.
    Any help appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,760

    Default Re: New to feeding bees

    2 1/2 gallons is not a lot divided between 4 hives. Just keep track of the storage space in the colonies. When the colonies reach to weight, or the number of frames of food stores necessary in your area, then stop feeding. I would suggest that you reduce the entrances to the colonies while you feed, if you have not already done so.

    The dead bees could be because of fighting, or it could be natural deaths that occur. Bees die every day but we don't see the dead because they are carried away from the hive or they fly away to die. That number will not be a problem to the colonies population of adults.

    Once the bees have found the syrup the lemon grass oil is not needed. The bees memory will bring them back to that spot to feed.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: New to feeding bees

    Thank you!!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    DuPage Illinois
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: New to feeding bees

    Watch out for robbing.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,824

    Default Re: New to feeding bees

    You are feeding every hive within three miles so that quantity is not much going into your hives probably. Feeding internly is the way to go.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: New to feeding bees

    I've also read that I should be reducing the entrance while feeding. Do you agree?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Athens, AL
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: New to feeding bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweet Melissa View Post
    I've also read that I should be reducing the entrance while feeding. Do you agree?
    big YES on that!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Murphy, TX
    Posts
    437

    Default Re: New to feeding bees

    I only have two hives started this year. There is robbing every time I feed. I feed either by miller feeder or frame feeder with reduced entrances with robber guards! I can't seem to stop robbing. I have a ferral colony 150 yards away and so far I am suspecting they are the robbers. Any way, my point is, keep an eye on robbing. You may be feeding some other hives than yours. Better to keep checking the stores on your hive or better feed them from inside feeder (frame/miller).

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    1,943

    Default Re: New to feeding bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweet Melissa View Post
    I've also read that I should be reducing the entrance while feeding. Do you agree?
    You should be using robber screens then there's no worry. I've found reducing the entrance is not very effective it only slows robbing down but doesn't stop it.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: New to feeding bees

    +++ on the robber screens. I would never feed - whether open or within the hive - without them in place, especially with a LGO added.

    Enj.

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