Can sugar bricks go on too early?
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  1. #1
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    Default Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    I'm wondering if giving hives some insurance sugar bricks right now on top of top deep could cause the bees to go up to the top of the hive too soon. One hive is going into our MA winter a little light (103lbs) others are pretty good- 130-150lbs.

    Does it matter when or should I wait until January?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    It is too early if bees are flying much. They will carry the sugar out of the hive as trash.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #3
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    In HOPKINTON, MA. you are fine now doubtful you will see any significant flying time at this time of year. They are less likely to carry out cakes or fondant than mountain camp.

  5. #4
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    Ozark, AL
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    Even if the bees are flying OP stated he was adding sugar blocks as insurance if the bees carry out the sugar just add more. A few pounds of sugar is cheaper than losing your bee due to a shortage of food.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    Adding the sugar bricks in early is for emergency feeding insurance purpose. If they don't need feeding now then save the sugar for Spring feeding. If you're worry about them carry out the sugar then give them the powder sugar. Since early October I've been giving them Lauri's sugar bricks and now powder sugar on the bottom board. Eventually the cluster will move to the top box where the sugar is at waiting for them. When the queen is still laying the winter bees in the lower box then some bees will go up to retrieve the sugar and then go down again. Rarely they will move the whole brood nest up there unless it is a double brood nest boxes. You have to assess the hive situation in order to give them what they need as an insurance. You can also test out a few hives now to see if they will favor the sugar bricks or not.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    A NOT OF CAUTION
    Powdered Sugar is all well and good ad long as you buy commercial candy grade I us it all the time. However, bakers 10x usually has corn starch in it that the bees cannot process, and can cause harm!

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    When the temperature rises enough for the cluster to loosen up a little, bees will go up to the top to feed on the sugar blocks and then move back down and stay with the cluster when it cools off.

    If the stores lower in the hive get low or are depleted you may see the cluster migrate upward and settle in right below the sugar. I've had some that stay right below the sugar block all winter, and others that never move up and touch them. Every colony is a little different, and I'm sure a lot has to do with where the stores are located and how much is there.
    To everything there is a season....

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    Bees spend a good part of the winter hanging out in the feed shim and working on the sugar blocks. There can be of gobs of bees hanging from the underside of the inner cover. In really cold weather, they seem to migrate lower in the hive.

    When bees are working the sugar bricks during warmer days, do they liquefy the sugar and store the syrup lower in the hive where tighter clustering occurs???????? I think this is may be going on.

    We just went through an abnormally warm spell and flying days. The sugar blocks softened from the humidity in the hive and plenty sugar got moved out the lower entrance. All of the 6 lbs of blocks were consumed or packed out in the last month. Not a big loss, as sugar was on a Black Friday sale, 2kgs(4.4 lbs) for $1.47
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  10. #9
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    DFW area, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    In this mild climate with a short winter, I've have used sugar bricks on single deep hives that were swarms in my lure. The cluster seems to stay in contact with the sugar bricks all winter and spring until a natural flow occurs. Use of sugar bricks allows us to overwinter hives that would not otherwise make it.

    My view is that dampening the sugar as you mix it with a spritz of electrolytes & water, even apple cider vinegar, allows it to set up and appear as food instead of refuse. A cup to cup and a half of water in ten pounds of sugar sets up pretty quickly in dry air. Something like this:



    I put rim feeders on weak and small hives last week after the first killing frost. HTH
    Last edited by Lburou; 11-26-2016 at 09:14 PM.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    put it on. check whats left a warm day (45-50s+)in the end of December. I'd rather err on the side of caution then wait till jan and find them dead.
    Terrence

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    I think the only case where you would need to worry about putting sugar on too early is if you are adding dry sugar on newspaper, some call it the "mountaincamp" method. If dry sugar is added too early when the bees are still flying they will sometimes start carrying the sugar granules out the door just as they would do when cleaning up debris in the hive.

    If it's a solid sugar block it's much more likely they will be consuming the sugar, as there is really nothing for them to easily pick up and carry out.
    To everything there is a season....

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    130-150 lbs hives don't need emergency sugar bricks

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    Something I started doing after reading some of Randy Olivers research was to float a 16 x 20 piece of plastic over the feed in the feeder rim. It seems to keep more of the bes down in the combs where RA says they live longer than hanging in clusters from the cover. I think it is helping with the dwindling I would see in March before replacements begin compensating for losses. I was worried that the bees would get lost above and die but very few do.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    If it is the real honey and not just cap sugar syrup then I rather have them
    take in the sugar bricks first. Somehow my bees know to be resourceful enough to
    not touch their honey reserves until early Spring time as long as something is there for
    them to eat during the winter time. They will use up the sugar bricks and
    patty subs first before using the natural stored pollen on the frames.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    I just put my bricks on.
    I am not sure if the bees needed it or not, but I put it on anyway as an emergency feed and as a moisture control since the brick will suck-up the moisture in the hive.

    I am not sure what are the weights of the hives. Last time I checked they had a lot in stores.

    The temperature here is going up and down too much: half of the week is 45-50 and half is above 60 the highest.

    What I got surprised by - there were no bees on the top, they are usually are walking around. It was above 50 when I was at the hives. Maybe they got clustered and were not interested in me.
    I am not sure if they get up and find the brick.

    (my hives are 2 deep boxes)

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    Weather huh ...

    It turn 60+ for last 2-3 days - today I noticed my bees are cleaning sugar out of the hive.

    Should I assume they consider it as extra food that they don't need?

    I am not regretting my effort and a few $$ - better be safe then sorry.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    In order for them to use the sugar bricks inside the daily temp has to be
    in the 40s. Put the bricks on top of the cluster. If it is still in the 50-60s they
    will discard the sugar pieces. However, if you use powder sugar or loose sugar poured on
    the solid bottom board they will not get rid of them. Wait until it is a bit cooler to put the bricks
    in if you like to. It will be awhile before the bees discover they have something to eat.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    I wish I could regulate the weather It was getting colder so I decided to put the brick before it gets too cold.
    Next week the lowest will be below freezing and the highest will be above 50 - too much difference, isn't it?

    Are you suggesting if I put loose sugar in a container on the top of the frames, bees will not discard it?

    My main concern is if bees have enough to eat.
    The temperatures above 50 is really not appreciated - the bees instead of being clustered, they are loose and looking for some food and, I believe, they consume their stored food.

    Any thoughts?

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    In order for them to use the sugar bricks inside the daily temp has to be
    in the 40s.
    This might not be the case in all locations. I've lifted covers in the winter and peeked in to check the blocks on the top bars to see if more needed to be added. Even in 20 deg weather, if the cluster is up under the blocks they will still be feeding on it.


    Artur,
    If you are using solid sugar blocks you will be fine. If the bees are carrying anything out of the hive it should be a very small amount. I've had blocks on my hives for a couple of weeks now and we've had some warm spells during that period too. Some are consuming the blocks but not much is being carried out. Winter weather is right around the corner, you should be ok.
    To everything there is a season....

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Can sugar bricks go on too early?

    Believe or not, it's 10AM and about 55 after 2 rainy days, I saw a few bees coming back with pollen - surprise

    Can anyone suggest when should I check if my bees finished the sugar block? According to my recipe each block is about 5lb sugar.

    (new beekeeper - lots of questions)

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