Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).
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  1. #1
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    Default Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Long story short, I'm feeding hive A, and Hive B. Both are about 10lbs underweight.

    Using 1/2 gallon feeders, one right after another, without more than a couple of hours between refills.

    2:1 syrup.

    Hive A has gained 8lbs after roughly 3 gallons of feed.

    Hive B has gained 8lbs after 1 gallon of feed.

    WTF is going on here?

    No, the feeders aren't leaking.

    I'm losing my patience (and losing warm weather).

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    You say short time between refills. How long after they are empty are refills? Keep piling it on as best you can.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post

    Hive A has gained 8lbs after roughly 3 gallons of feed.

    Hive B has gained 8lbs after 1 gallon of feed.
    Points to the methodology of reading the actual weights itself.
    Which is what?
    And how is identical method execution ensured?

    Of course, it could be trivial robbing too.
    One hive dries syrup better than the other is a possible factor in.
    Last edited by GregV; 10-08-2019 at 09:02 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Hi username,

    First thing to check is if there is any open brood present. If not, they may be queenless and this will disrupt gainful activities.

    There are 2 different grades of corn syrup feed - schedule 55 and schedule 77. My mentor noticed that the bees just seem to burn through the lighter schedule 55 syrup, but they add weight to the hive with schedule 77.

    I do make up sugar water, 1:1 when it is warm outside, and 2:1 when it gets cold enough that I want to wear a jacket, but I have learned to add the schedule 77 corn syrup in order to get them to put the weight onto the hive. I also add Honey B Healthy and Nosevit, and a few drops of lemon to keep it slightly acidic. The small amount of lemon helps "invert" the sucrose, meaning that it converts more easily into fructose and glucose.

    Or, the easy option - just buy BeeSweet, already mixed up for you.

    The other big trick to add weight is to add pollen substitute. That increases the number of bees adding weight to the hive. I use the "Tucson Diet" marketed as MegaBee by Dadant and Sons. It is the original superfood for bees, and still the best on the market.

    If you want to get deeper into bee nutrition, read the nutrition section in Randy Oliver's website, www.scientificbeekeeping.com Lots of excellent articles there.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Assuming that identical feed is being given to both hives, I'd say that 'passive robbing' is certainly a possibility with Hive A, and would be worth checking out.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    What are the populations of each hive?
    Assuming there is no robbing taking place I'm wondering if the forager population in Hive A is much greater than Hive B. What does the activity at the entrance look like at each hive? A steady stream of syrup coming in might be triggering more foraging activity, which would result in the bees consuming more syrup for foraging flights but coming back empty handed. Just a thought.
    To everything there is a season....

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Assuming that identical feed is being given to both hives, I'd say that 'passive robbing' is certainly a possibility with Hive A, and would be worth checking out.
    LJ
    My thought too

  9. #8
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    Deep Brook, NS, Canada
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    I have one like that. It swarmed and never made another queen, and didn't get re-queened until August 6. They just aren't gaining weight, in spite of 2:1 bucket feeding. Maybe there aren't enough nurse bees to raise brood, because bee numbers have never built up properly. I think they will be part of a science experiment to find optimum Winter weights in my area.
    I want bees that make up for my mistakes.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Hive A has a similar population to Hive B.

    The weather's been rainy and cold for most of the feeding duration, so no obvious robbing has taken place.

    I've been using 2 quart jars simultaneously. They generally consume the entire amount throughout the day, and I tend to refill each day, often without the syrup being fully consumed.
    Last edited by username00101; 10-09-2019 at 07:43 AM.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post
    ..... so no obvious robbing has taken place..
    Passive robbing, NOT obvious robbing.
    OK, google that.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Passive robbing, NOT obvious robbing.
    OK, google that.
    Temps were too low for any robbing, and it was raining. Passive or obvious, it's not possible in my location.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Passive robbing, NOT obvious robbing.
    OK, google that.
    I did not sure why it applies to bees, real life yes
    Passive robbery is done by the big companies and politicians to steal our money in an indirect way.
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post
    Temps were too low for any robbing, and it was raining. Passive or obvious, it's not possible in my location.
    OK then if the weather (but the robbers will rob during the worst possible weather and very late and very early).
    I would not discount the location either.
    But fine. You know best.

    It is just with the "passive" robbing the outside bees freely go in and out - no fighting and not obvious signs to point to.
    They simply go for the feeder and back out (without disturbing the main nest - which is a case of a small colony usually where they are unable to guard and defend the main entrance).
    And yet the feed loss can be significant.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by wildbranch2007 View Post
    GregV Passive robbing, NOT obvious robbing.
    OK, google that.

    > I did not sure why it applies to bees, real life yes
    > Passive robbery is done by the big companies and politicians to steal our money in an indirect way.
    Well it may not be the correct term to use - some folks call it 'civilised' robbing.

    I tend to see this whenever I make-up a late nuc (in a single-yard apiary). It can sometimes develop because the bees in the nuc have exactly the same smell as the bees in one of the full-sized boxes - because that's precisely from where they originated.

    So - should it wish to, a forager scout from the full-sized hive can simply walk into that nuc box without being challenged. Even with an anti-robbing screen in place, the scout can follow the already familiar footprint pheromone to be found on the face of the nuc box - and so 'up and over' the screen it goes. Finding a supply of syrup inside, it just helps itself and flies back home. Because the syrup has relatively 'low value', and presumably because it's so easy to access, this source of feed doesn't then develop into mob-handed robbing - foragers just turn up, help themselves, and no-one's any the wiser.

    Especially the beekeeper - who, because there's no fighting or sniffing around the box cracks, interprets this increased activity as being the sign of a strong colony. That is, until the hive is inspected, when the puzzled beekeeper discovers that the stores cupboard now lies bare.

    The moral of this story is: don't automatically assume that increased activity at a hive entrance - even if everything looks ok - is necessarily a sign that all is well. A quick check is all it takes to confirm this ... or not, as the case may be.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    There was a guy named Storch who wrote a book called: "At the Hive Entrance" - a copy of which can be downloaded from http://www.biobees.com/library/gener...20Entrance.pdf

    He calls this type of robbing 'Latent Robbing' - a good term as Latent means 'Hidden', and describes it thus:
    Latent robbing.
    One colony is robbing another in the most civilized fashion. A screen placed between the hives is more often than not flown over or around. The robbers even enter the hive. This robbing is tolerated but is not satisfactory to all the colonies. Latent robbing can sometimes explain abnormally large harvests.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Well it may not be the correct term to use - some folks call it 'civilised' robbing.

    I tend to see this whenever I make-up a late nuc (in a single-yard apiary). It can sometimes develop because the bees in the nuc have exactly the same smell as the bees in one of the full-sized boxes - because that's precisely from where they originated.

    So - should it wish to, a forager scout from the full-sized hive can simply walk into that nuc box without being challenged. Even with an anti-robbing screen in place, the scout can follow the already familiar footprint pheromone to be found on the face of the nuc box - and so 'up and over' the screen it goes. Finding a supply of syrup inside, it just helps itself and flies back home. Because the syrup has relatively 'low value', and presumably because it's so easy to access, this source of feed doesn't then develop into mob-handed robbing - foragers just turn up, help themselves, and no-one's any the wiser.

    Especially the beekeeper - who, because there's no fighting or sniffing around the box cracks, interprets this increased activity as being the sign of a strong colony. That is, until the hive is inspected, when the puzzled beekeeper discovers that the stores cupboard now lies bare.

    The moral of this story is: don't automatically assume that increased activity at a hive entrance - even if everything looks ok - is necessarily a sign that all is well. A quick check is all it takes to confirm this ... or not, as the case may be.
    LJ
    While I agree such a phenomenon is possible. It's not likely if it's 50 degrees F, and raining for 4 days in a row. During which over a gallon of feed was consumed.

    Something else is going on here.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post
    While I agree such a phenomenon is possible. It's not likely if it's 50 degrees F, and raining for 4 days in a row. During which over a gallon of feed was consumed.

    Something else is going on here.
    Back to:

    Points to the methodology of reading the actual weights itself.
    Which is what?
    And how is identical method execution ensured?
    In my line of business, all too often, the reported issues turn out to be the "operator errors" and "user errors" and "equipment errors".
    I have done a fair share of my own too.
    By now, before I spend any time on "fixing", I first ensure the issue is for real.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Back to:



    In my line of business, all too often, the reported issues turn out to be the "operator errors" and "user errors" and "equipment errors".
    I have done a fair share of my own too.
    By now, before I spend any time on "fixing", I first ensure the issue is for real.
    OK, well I've checked and re-checked.

    Hive A has actually lost weight.

    Hive B keeps gaining approximately the amount of weight I'd expect them to gain.

    I opened up Hive A.

    I found, in total, the equivalent of 3 full frames of mixed brood (i.e., eggs, and open brood, and caped brood).

    I had the displeasure of opening up a 3rd Hive, we'll call Hive C, because they too were losing weight.

    Hive C appeared to have approximately the same number of frames of brood.

    They're still bringing in pollen, but isn't it a bit late in the season for them to have so much brood?

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post
    OK, well I've checked and re-checked.

    Hive A has actually lost weight.

    Hive B keeps gaining approximately the amount of weight I'd expect them to gain.

    I opened up Hive A.

    I found, in total, the equivalent of 3 full frames of mixed brood (i.e., eggs, and open brood, and caped brood).

    I had the displeasure of opening up a 3rd Hive, we'll call Hive C, because they too were losing weight.

    Hive C appeared to have approximately the same number of frames of brood.

    They're still bringing in pollen, but isn't it a bit late in the season for them to have so much brood?
    So here you go - they are brooding and your feed goes - poof.

    Some bees will brood year around because they are fools and probably not suited for your area.
    Some bees, however, do this because else they will perish due to the lack of young bees unless they raise them now.
    Most of my late nucs are brooding and pulling pollen every day they can; I will have to give them honey frames (most of syrup went in to the brood).
    The older hives, however, seem to be done for the season and just want to rest.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Why the heck won't they gain weight (after ALOT of feeding).

    In comparison, how much brood is in Hive B ?
    To everything there is a season....

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