Bee questions (Deadheading and Lbs of sugar per hive a year)
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Anon, Anonymous

    Default Bee questions (Deadheading and Lbs of sugar per hive a year)

    So I don't see this question anywhere else and so I'll put them here. (There's two parts to this, 2 questions basically).

    In gardening there's this technique called dead heading where you cut the tops of the flowers when they are wilting or whatever to try to make the plant regrow the flowers. I wanted to ask if you can do this en masse in your flower fields to get extra nectar and if anyone's studied this? (Don't know if you could get it to work with fruit trees but what about stuff like sunflowers, and other stuff?)

    (Yeah, there'd be some work, but I would think if someone could get tons of bonus honey they wouldn't mind right?)

    (And I guess this pertains to people that do a bit of gardening and beekeeping both mostly...)

    Also, I was on Youtube and looking at a beekeeper channel of a certain guy who has a nuc yard, full of tons of bees. And when talking about robbing he was saying once he starts doing sugar water, he can't really stop because of robbing starting again, etc. And later this gentleman said something along the lines of some beeks literally use several tons of sugar per year. Granted he's got a lot of hives, and he is successful in his field. I'm not disrespecting him in any way.)

    But I wondered how many pounds of sugar are people using in a hive per year typically? You guys must have this figured out right? (There hasn't been talk about this recently on the forum. I did see a thread people talking about the price of sugar per pound on here back in 2013. But that's a lot of time and change since then for that as a separate question also.) Seems like you'd be thinking both the price of sugar per pound, and also how many pounds a year a typical hive is using. And you might even have separate figures for small nuc hives versus the full sizers.

    How do you keep this from bringing down your bank account so much? I like that this was brought up, but I'm also worried about having a black hole in my bank account if I were to be so far into this.

    Thanks for your thoughts on this fun research.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA

    Default Re: Bee questions (Deadheading and Lbs of sugar per hive a year)

    The amount of sugar fed per colony will vary depending on the area in which the bees forage.

    In my area I have no nectar flow that will give any surplus after the month of June. This requires me to feed all colonies the major part, if not all, of their winter stores. I feed a 5:3 mix and each colony will receive 5 to 6 gallons of syrup. Twenty pounds of sugar will make 3 gallons of syrup so I plan to feed 40 pounds of sugar to each colony. Any nucs will overwinter in three 5 frame boxes and will be fed 20 pounds of sugar.

    The cost of feeding and any equipment purchases is financed by nuc sales in the spring. No sales, the fewer colonies overwintered, or I just suck it up and dig into the hip pocket.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Aylett, Virginia

    Default Re: Bee questions (Deadheading and Lbs of sugar per hive a year)

    It is too late to avoid the black hole! And you don't even have bees yet. But you will, and you will spend money on all kinds of bee related things that you can't live without.

    The amount of sugar needed per hive cannot be defined as there are simply too many variables. Where I am, in a normal year, I expect to purchase around 60# per hive. Some of this is for the summer dearth, but most is for overwintering. 1500# for my 25 hives and 10 nucs is anticipated. A good fall flow could bring that number down a little. Also did not harvest from all my hives so some are at a good weight for this time of year and will not need much additional feed. Some areas have such a good fall flow that very little feeding is necessary. There is a reason Virginia is not a top honey producing state, our fall flow does not produce enough to harvest without starving the bees.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada

    Default Re: Bee questions (Deadheading and Lbs of sugar per hive a year)

    Geography is sure an interesting part of Beekeeping. My honeys are still bringing in nectar. Weíre having a cool moist summer and the sweet clover is still blooming like crazy.
    Last year I didnít feed at all. Pulled supers July 31, put on deeps, and all hives made full 10 frame deeps of clover honey stores.
    This year, only one hive made surplus so far. Two weeks late and I need to do mite treatments.
    Iíll be feeding this year for sure. I give them 1 more week, then if itís not capped, itís mead.
    Sugar used after that will be based on how they are doing filling top deeps.
    On the dead-heading idea, our county mows road edge twice a summer. Donít notice a benefit for bloom, unmowed areas are still more floriferous. Maybe they cut too low?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA

    Default Re: Bee questions (Deadheading and Lbs of sugar per hive a year)

    Regarding deadheading, even if the type of flower would regrow, its not worth it. I have a lot of clover and dandys in my yard and a 20 acre hay field loaded with dandelions in the spring, as well as several apple tress. I very rarely see more than a few bees on them. Keep in mind that they have a 2 mile range and they "tell" each other where the good stuff is. So, you could do all that work and they wouldn't even take notice because they found something better. J

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA

    Default Re: Bee questions (Deadheading and Lbs of sugar per hive a year)

    deadheading works well when the farmer times cuting the alfalfa right.

    sugar per hive is all about how much they make and how much you take

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: Bee questions (Deadheading and Lbs of sugar per hive a year)

    You can get alfalfa and sweet clover to rebloom if you cut it just right. I'm more worried about it going to seed to reseed itself... but I think you would get more nectar if you timed it right. You also might change the timing some.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF


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