Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given

    I’ve feed my bees sugar syrup (1:1 ratio) in early spring. My bees are having late honey harvest and fall weather is not yet here. May I continue to feed even though they are in the middle of honey production? Also instead of gradulated white sugar, may I feed my bees Chinese Rock Sugar? Chinese yellow rock sugar is lumps of crystallized sugar made from unprocessed sugar cane. It’s less sweet than gradulated sugar and already comes in brick or irregular rock size lumps.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    North East Wyoming
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given

    You shouldn't be feeding your bees if there's nectar coming in. If it was earlier in the year there may be some benefit to it but if you've got honey supers on and are going to collect honey from the colony you definitely should not be feeding. As to granulated sugar or Chinese rock sugar, I may be wrong on this but I think you should be mixing that into a sugar syrup. The granulated sugar is hard on the bees digestion. The sugar bricks recipes I've seen on beesource are all for winter feeding when temperatures make it to cold to feed bees syrup.
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,637

    Default Re: Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given

    Feeding bees sugar while they are making honey is the definition of making 'funny honey'. Absolutely should not be feeding them when they are making honey.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    North East Wyoming
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given

    And not the good kind of 'funny honey' that comes out of Colorado.
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    1,148

    Default Re: Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given

    I would not feed anything other than white sugar in blocks in the winter or syrup any other time of year. The impurities in any other sugar products can give them dysentery. It may not be much of a problem in summer but in the winter when they cannot leave the hive, it can be a real problem. If you have a flow on and honey supers, do not feed. The flow will provide everything they need.


    Some beekeepers also feed HFCS or regular Karo corn syrup. Both work well but are WAY more expensive than plain generic white sugar except in industrial quantities.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default

    Thanks everyone for your clarification. So when there is honey flow, there’s no concern for starvation even if it’s late summer?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
    Posts
    764

    Default Re: Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given

    There is never a concern for starvation when there is a ton of food available. Not sure I understand the question.
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    North East Wyoming
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given

    MimiE,

    I'm assuming you're relatively new to beekeeping (which is awesome, congratulations by the way). Ideally honeybees would never require feed from a beekeeper. A natural diet of pollen and nectar from mother natures own kitchen provides honeybees with a far superior diet than what we as beekeepers typically provide. There are different situations and conditions that warrant feeding your bees. This is kind of a method I have followed over the last few years that may or may not help. As with most things on beesource I'm sure there are plenty of people that could contradict or correct me so I highly recommend doing your own research into the subject.

    When to feed:

    If you have a newly installed package
    If you have a colony that has undrawn frames
    If there is a dearth
    If the colony doesn't have any stores of honey or nectar coming in
    In the fall if you determine your colony does not have ample food stores to make it through the winter
    In the spring prior to any major flower blooms or nectar flows

    When not to feed:

    When honey supers on <-- CRUCIAL
    When the bees are bringing in nectar
    During the fall or winter when the colony already has ample stores <-- (This ones debatable and I'm sure someone will dispute this.)

    Some of the situations above as a new beekeeper you may not fully recognize. Talk to local beekeepers in your area and get a feel for when they typically feed.
    Last edited by Moon; 08-22-2018 at 02:06 PM. Reason: doesn't not
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,290

    Default

    You have alot to learn

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Claiborne County, East Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    You have alot to learn
    Yes he does probably as you did when you first started. Wow, that might even be the reason he is posting here. He might have thought he could actually get advice on matters related to bee keeping. You think that he realized he didn't know so he asked?

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Kearneysville, WV
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Feeding - when and when not to and what can be given

    its the numerous sarcastic/unhelpful/passive aggressive responses like "you have a lot to learn" that turned me off visiting this forum. Someone asked a question and so the obvious options are to either help them or stay quiet. that some people think of a third option, throw in an unhelpful comment, just amazes me.

    I just returned from the WVBA bees conference this past weekend where I spent two days listening to talks, meeting helpful beekeepers and generally learning a lot about what I was doing right AND wrong. I would highly recommend trying to attend something similar in your area if a local bee club/association is hosting one.

    From my own perspective I think Moon got it right above by highlighting that there ARE instances when you should be feeding throughout and a newly installed package/nuc is one of them. Once they start to get food stored packed away/capped you take your foot off of the gas pedal (feeding).

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