Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Brewster Massachusetts USA
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    Default Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    We are located on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and expecting our packages on April 3. Lately it's been just about 40 during the day
    and around 30 at night. My question: Is it too cold to use 2:1 sugar syrup in bucket feeders to feed the bees? I also have a hive
    that overwintered successfully and appears to be fairly strong. Same question.... can I start feeding them 2:1 syrup in these temps.
    I've currently just been placing plates of sugar on the top bars of the frames which they are eating.
    Thanks!!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    It's not too cold to be giving them food but the syrup has to be on the warmish side for them to take it. 40 degrees won't cut it unless you heat the syrup up a little first. Still, it only lasts a while before it cools down. I'd be giving them 1:1 right now since they'll be burning it up rather than storing it. You can always put the syrup out and let them do with it as they please.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    727

    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    You absolutely want to feed them. Start with warm syrup. If they don't take it offer sugarbricks/ fondant. I pretty sure they will take to the syrup though. I would offer pollen sub too. Need protein for brood rearing. Gonna be allot of cold days in April. So I would keep both syrup and sub going all month.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Brewster Massachusetts USA
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    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    thanks for the replies. The reason I'd do 2:1 now is less water in the mix that they'll need to get rid of. As it warms up a bit, I'd switch to 1:1.... but just wondering if the syrup, at these temps, is too early to start using.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    washington, vermont, USA
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    405

    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    How big is your overwintered hive? If possible (if they can spare it)grab 1 or ideally 2 or 3 drawn combs from the overwintered hive. If they can spare it grab one with some honey. If they can't just empty comb is better than none. That will give them somewhere to cluster and an immediate place for the queen to lay. Another thing to consider is some foam board insulation on the top cover at least or all 4 sides as well. Will assist them in regulating the brood nest and in building needed comb in my opinion. I would also put a small sugar brick on for when the syrup is too cold.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    5,281

    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    Capebee, feed the 1:1 like Ravenseye suggested. Otherwise the bees will need to forage for water to use the 2:1. To help with keeping the syrup warm, you can use a mason jar feeder over the inner cover, covered by a deep hive body wrapped in tarpaper so it gets hot in the sun. That should keep the syrup usable for longer. Winter patties will also help since they are mostly carbs.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Mountain Village,Alaska
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    165

    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    I have been putting a warm feed jar, on in the warm afternoons, and take it off before the temps cool off in the evening. They don't take much, but keeps them alive.



    Also you can fill drawn comb with sugar syrup with a spray bottle, and have one on each side. I use 2 to 1

    A shim with sugar bricks will be the safest, if its down below freezing for extended periods.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    North Liberty, Iowa, USA
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    146

    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    We've had temps in the 40's, low 50's in Iowa. I've been giving syrup (4# bag to 2 qts water) for a couple weeks or so. They've been taking it down. Put above inner cover with a box around and insulation above. They are taking that much more than the patties.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Brewster Massachusetts USA
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    84

    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    Thank you all again for the tips..... I put inside a deep box 1:1 sugar syrup and wrapped the box in tar paper. That should work well till the weather gets into the fifties (hopefully in the next couple of weeks).
    I did try placing a winter pattie in the hive... they didn't seem to care for that. They did (are) eating the cane sugar in a plate placed on the frame tops.
    Thanks again!!

  11. #10
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    Mar 2012
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    Catskills, Delaware Cty, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by capebee View Post
    thanks for the replies. The reason I'd do 2:1 now is less water in the mix that they'll need to get rid of. As it warms up a bit, I'd switch to 1:1.... but just wondering if the syrup, at these temps, is too early to start using.
    Use a baggie right on top of the bars, with warm syrup. Make a few small slits to let the air out so there is somewhat of a vacuum. Deb
    Proverbs 16:24

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
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    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    Use a baggie right on top of the bars, with warm syrup. Make a few small slits to let the air out so there is somewhat of a vacuum. Deb
    +1!

    This is the reason I've always used hive top feeders, they're more expensive, or build your own as I did. In the spring, even if the temp. dips, when it comes back up, the syrup is there waiting for them.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    I heat the syrup once a day. Take it out (depending on the feeding method) and heat it to where it feels hot but won't burn you and take it back out.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I heat the syrup once a day. Take it out (depending on the feeding method) and heat it to where it feels hot but won't burn you and take it back out.
    I’ll be seeing you on Saturday, it will be nice to meet you. Deb
    Proverbs 16:24

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    I guess I'll see you Saturday...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Plymouth, MA USA
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    38

    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Capebee, feed the 1:1 like Ravenseye suggested. Otherwise the bees will need to forage for water to use the 2:1. To help with keeping the syrup warm, you can use a mason jar feeder over the inner cover, covered by a deep hive body wrapped in tarpaper so it gets hot in the sun. That should keep the syrup usable for longer. Winter patties will also help since they are mostly carbs.
    I have done exactly this when feeding early in MA, but instead of the tarpaper, I use a larger feeding bucket of warm syrup and wrap it around with a roll of 3" fiberglass insulation to pretty much fill the deep, and then a batt of the same to cover (see photos). The larger bucket covers the feeding hole so bees and moisture don't get in the deep, and the heat of the cluster actually keeps the syrup at about 60+ degrees so they take it readily. When I take the bucket out and put my hand on the inner cover it's toasty warm.

    Insulated feeding 3.jpgInsulated feeding 2.jpg
    Last edited by TJC1; 03-27-2019 at 07:14 PM.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
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    929

    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by TJC1 View Post
    I use a larger feeding bucket of warm syrup and wrap it around with a roll of 3" fiberglass insulation to pretty much fill the deep, and then a batt of the same to cover
    Ugh!! Fiberglass insulation!! Good luck with that!

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Plymouth, MA USA
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    Default Re: Feeding Newly Installed Package in Cold Weather

    Thanks - I have had good luck with it (I'm not eating it, nor are the bees...)

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