Winter feeding?
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Thread: Winter feeding?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Wharton, Texas, USA
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    Default Winter feeding?

    I watched an interesting video from barnyard bees he just put dry sugar in the feeder said it feeds bees and absorbs moisture. I live in Texas and itís not consistently cold but it has been raining every other day. Could I just pour sugar in a feeder frame or a hive top feeder with floats obviously floats removed or would this create a problem?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    Putting sugar in a frame feeder won't work as well for absorbing moisture from the hive. A hive top feeder works best. The new Ceracell feeder is marketed as for both wet and dry feeding, although most top feeders with the floats, screens, barriers, etc. removed will work just as well.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    The dry sugar does absorbs moisture in the hive during winter months, whether you use the “mountain camp” method or make a sugar board, which is made with a little water and packed in a shim w upper entrance. Both of these are usually used when it gets cold and the bees can’t forage, like where I live. Mountain camp method lay newspaper right on the top bars about 1/2 way across and pour some Domino granulated sugar on it. I have never used any type of “feeder” for granulated sugar. These methods are used for a “just in case scenario”, meaning they run out of their food over winter.
    Proverbs 16:24

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    B4655C9E-5453-4CC8-87A7-EFC9C9E84D80.jpgB4655C9E-5453-4CC8-87A7-EFC9C9E84D80.jpgI had to do some splits late and saved a swarm that got flooded out and with all the rain the their has been a ton of golden rod but the flowers are wet I donít think the bees have been able to get at them. They have been sucking down the pollen sub to.
    Last edited by amk; 11-04-2018 at 02:31 PM. Reason: Pic

  6. #5

    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    I would think in Texas that you wouldn't need any dry sugar. This is more of a Northern thing. Where bee if they are lucky to break out of cluster after 4 months

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by My-smokepole View Post
    I would think in Texas that you wouldn't need any dry sugar. This is more of a Northern thing. Where bee if they are lucky to break out of cluster after 4 months
    Which was mentioned in post #3.
    Proverbs 16:24

  8. #7
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    Jul 2013
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    Louisville, KY
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    Default

    I don't put dry sugar in my hives. Never needed to. Do fine without it.

  9. #8
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
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    Oct 2012
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    Knox, TN
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    A lot of the stuff so called beekeepers preach on YouTube is nonsense. You don't need anything in your hive to wick moisture, the dry sugar is intended to be a last ditch effort to save a hive that's run out of food. It will not work unless the cluster is in direct contact with the sugar. They won't be able to move up into the feeder and will die within a few inches of it. You shouldn't even need dry sugar down in Texas, you should be able to feed heavy syrup.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    Amk, when good hearted folks are telling you that certain things are not necessary, they are forgetting to tell what they do instead. Burns375 probably does not add sugar because he makes sure his hives are up to weight. MB probably has some additional vetilation or insulation that keeps moisture from condensing on his bees. Lots of right ways to keep bees and quite a few wrong ways too. I do not use loose dry sugar, I use sugar bricks which are in direct contact with the frames. I also start feeding 1:1 in Jan., placing it in my styrofoam hivetop feeders. Somehow the bees manage to use it, even when it is below 50. In your climate, moisture is still a problem, but bees being unable to break cluster is not. You probably could feed syrup year round, but that was not your question.

    I also subscribe to David's channel and find his videos informative and entertaining. The advice he provides is right for his area.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
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    AUBURN IN.
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    burns 375 ---U don't have the winters in Louisville like in the north --where the cluster will not brake to move over to the next frame to eat HONEY -they stay on the empty frame and starve to death --because it is TOO cold to brake cluster --when it is O--to -20 degrees below for a week at a time

    NOTE
    if there is food above them that they can get to it with out breaking cluster they will not starve

  13. #12
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    Cullman, Alabama, USA
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    Cool Re: Winter feeding?

    Like politics, all bee keeping is local. I am in north central Alabama.
    I was feeding syrup until last weekend, wish i had pushed it harder, now that sub 50 degree weather is here.
    Common complaint about "mountan camp"/ dry sugar over newsprint is that beez will carry it out as trash if it warms up enough for them to fly. And, if it warms up enough to pull frames to check on things, you cant due to the loose sugar that you dont waht to waste.
    Last year i modified my feeder shims adding 1/4 inch hardware cloth to hold the news print so i could check hives.
    Tbis was a booboo sort of. I could lift the rim off, but the hardware cloth sagged down onto the frames, when i put it ba k on, i smushed bees.
    I used moist sugar, hoping that it would clump & the bees would eat it, not trash it wondering how the bees would hanle sugar bricks or fondant in this fluctuating climate now. ( I read this thread looking for verification)
    My plan is to add support bars under my wire mesh, and again use damp sugar with a hole in it directly under my feeder jar so if the syrup warms up they can still get it.
    Of course, the sugar will still attract ants, & if water leaks in around the feeder jar hole, cold wet bees are soon dead bees.

    Disclaimer .... i may not know anything, but i am sharing results of my ongoing experiments !!!

    Good luck with your bees ... ce
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by allniter View Post
    burns 375 ---U don't have the winters in Louisville like in the north --where the cluster will not brake to move over to the next frame to eat HONEY -they stay on the empty frame and starve to death --because it is TOO cold to brake cluster --when it is O--to -20 degrees below for a week at a time


    NOTE
    if there is food above them that they can get to it with out breaking cluster they will not starve
    Living in the Western Catskills where we have “- temps” I have learned to not only wrap, but put foam on 3 sides of the hive also. This helps tremendously with food, in addition to above sugar shim. I usually have good numbers surviving winter.
    Proverbs 16:24

  15. #14
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    Dec 2017
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    Wharton, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    As most have seen Iím in Texas and my main concern is a few hives that are not to heavy due to being late season splits/swarms. I see a lot of videos of people doing pretty extravagant things to their hives and I canít help but think thereís no way commercial guys with 3000 hives worry about any of that. I guess Iíll feed 2:1 when we get a warm spell as some have mentioned and pray moisture doesnít kill them all I got is commercial boxes and migratory lids. I found a guy willing to sell some equipment so I was paying $20 for a deep with frames w/ foundation and the migratory lid so that style is all I have to work with. My hives are on pallets in groups of four. It seems from what some of you are saying I should be able to check on my bees more than someone up north so I will try to keep them fed.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
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    461

    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    There is a saying to take your losses in the fall, not the spring. If those were late swarms, then those daughters will also likely throw off swarms more easily, and be harder to stop from swarming... Sometimes we fall into a trap where we spend far more time on hives with less of a chance compared to ones that will be producers.

    You can still combine, if you'll have temps where the bees can fly. I prefer to do massive manipulations like that when it is fly weather and won't get cluster temps (below 30) for 36 hrs or more. I would make sure the hive I'm introducing is less than half the size of the other hive. Ideally pinch the smaller hive's queen. And use newspaper between the two hives. When I did my combine, a few days later I shook all the bees off the top 5 combs, from the smaller hive, and returned the combined hive to the winter configuration I want, without the extra box.

  17. #16
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    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Amk, when good hearted folks are telling you that certain things are not necessary, they are forgetting to tell what they do instead. Burns375 probably does not add sugar because he makes sure his hives are up to weight. MB probably has some additional vetilation or insulation that keeps moisture from condensing on his bees. Lots of right ways to keep bees and quite a few wrong ways too. I do not use loose dry sugar, I use sugar bricks which are in direct contact with the frames. I also start feeding 1:1 in Jan., placing it in my styrofoam hivetop feeders. Somehow the bees manage to use it, even when it is below 50. In your climate, moisture is still a problem, but bees being unable to break cluster is not. You probably could feed syrup year round, but that was not your question.

    I also subscribe to David's channel and find his videos informative and entertaining. The advice he provides is right for his area.
    JW, you've mentioned "styrofoam hive top feeders" before. Did you buy or build them?

  18. #17
    Join Date
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Winter feeding?

    I bought them from Betterbee. BHTF10, is the one that fits wooden 10 frame equipment. Almost zero drowned bees, and works like an insulated top. Since it goes right on the hive body, cluster heat keeps the opening to the syrup a little warmer. They are not cheap, $30.85 each, but I think they work exceptionally well.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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