Cold weather feeding
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Cheyenne, WY USA
    Posts
    17

    Default Cold weather feeding

    I live in Cheyenne Wyoming which is in the southeast corner of the state. I have started feeding the bees syrup and I am wondering how long I should continue the feeding. Our weather is right now is pretty warm days 50-70 degrees and getting down in the low 40's to upper 30's at night. I read I should continue as long as the bees are eating the syrup or the bees start clustering. How do I know when they start clustering? I see many out and about during the day. Once I stop feeding syrup, what should I be feeding for the rest of the winter? Thanks for any information you can share.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Cold weather feeding

    Continue until your colonies weigh your target weight.

    Edited to add:
    Weigh them before you start feeding and feed them what they need all at once. If you're going to do the quart-at-a-time approach you'll be disappointed in the weight gain over time and may end up finding a relatively light colony a couple of weeks from now. If they're extremely light feed them in a way that keeps the food warm at night. Paint cans on little wood shims right on the top bars above the cluster is a good way to feed them. In a 10 frame hive you can put five one gallon cans which (with 2:1 syrup) adds about 10 pounds per gallon (50 pounds total).

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Weston, ME
    Posts
    1,016

    Default Re: Cold weather feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Hemendp View Post
    I live in Cheyenne Wyoming which is in the southeast corner of the state. I have started feeding the bees syrup and I am wondering how long I should continue the feeding. Our weather is right now is pretty warm days 50-70 degrees and getting down in the low 40's to upper 30's at night. I read I should continue as long as the bees are eating the syrup or the bees start clustering. How do I know when they start clustering? I see many out and about during the day. Once I stop feeding syrup, what should I be feeding for the rest of the winter? Thanks for any information you can share.
    Bees usually start clustering below mid 50s F. You average about low 20s F for winter right? Guessing (if so) that means plenty of days down near 0F or low teens?

    Basically you want an idea of how much your colonies should weight (i.e. the pounds of stores) for winter. Local beekeepers will know - your state apiarist (if you have one, or agri department if not) should also be able to help.

    Keep feeding until they either weight that amount or the bees stop feeding because they have clustered and won't come up to the feeder.

    If the bees stop feeding before you hit the weight then you will want to add some form of winter feed (sugar blocks, fondant, raw sugar, etc.) on the top frames (various methods- candy boards,news paper, etc.). That will give them the extra stores for winter (if they can get to it).

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Posts
    91

    Default Re: Cold weather feeding

    You may not need to feed at all, ever. I don't feed my bees unless needed (rarely) which would be in late winter February-March if I check and stores are low. As the others have said you need to know your specific winter honey requirements. Can you check with a local beekeeper? I have a few bee yards and know how much each needs in deep frames (i.e Vancouver yard needs 10 frames or 60 lbs). The need is based more on the length of winter then the cold. One problem with feeding syrup late is the uncapped frames become humidifiers and moldy. There is nothing wrong with feeding autumn syrup but just make sure you don't have too many uncapped frames. Beekeeping is easier than you think (most new beekeepers overthink and over worry). Keep asking questions. I run a beekeeping organization, a beekeeping coop and teach lessons and the only way you learn is to ask. Good luck.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Cheyenne, WY USA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Cold weather feeding

    thanks.

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