How much should I feed for winter?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    288

    Default How much should I feed for winter?

    hives
    • 10 frame foundationless mediums
    • average frames of drawn comb per box: 9.3
    • boxes per hive: 3, 3, 2, 2, 2
    • weights (includes screened bottom board + inner cover): I weighed my most and least active hives.
      - most active (3 boxes): 45 lbs
      - least active (2 boxes): 50 lbs

    Weights for calculations
    • from people's posts here
      - honey in a medium: 32 lbs
      - empty medium: 13 lbs
    • my inner cover + bottom board: 7 lbs

    Last year I open fed 33 lbs/hive with no robbing.

    I made a tiny test feeder out of a pill bottle to test open feeding. Its ignored. I can't find any advice on how to feed without them ignoring it. Any suggestions for getting them to eat open feed would help.

    I don't like closed feeding syrup, but I plan on trying it. I asked for closed feeder advice. People suggested inversion feeders. They wouldn't explain the benefit and whether the feeders will be ignored.

    I plan on making a hybrid feeder. Most syrup will be in a large container with dry wood and grass. There will be a tiny inversion feeder (in case there's a benefit to inversion feeding). This will be infinitely cheaper and easier to make than a pure inversion feeder, and have >100x the feeding surface area. I'm not ready to invest in 4 paint cans. Each hive will be fed once (no refills).

    Should the amount to feed be based on having a certain amount of comb that's not filled with 2:1 syrup immediately after feeding? After feeding, I want to equalize, and add 1 or 2 boxes (total) to the 5 hives. The goal is to have 2 frames that are empty enough to fit 4-8 lbs of sugar bricks in.
    Last edited by SeaCucumber; 09-16-2020 at 05:16 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    288

    Default Re: How much should I feed for winter?

    In his video, Michael Palmer defined the hive weight as that of the inner cover, solid bottom, and boxes. I estimate his cover + bottom is 10 lbs, and mine are 3 lbs lighter. He feeds 2:1 to get to a high end of 160 lbs is for a 2 deep 1 medium hive. Converting that to a 4 medium hive and subtracting the cover/bottom weight, that's 37.5 lbs per medium. If I had solid bottoms, that's 122.5 lbs for a 3 medium hive.

    The average weight of a medium box I weighed is 16.2 lbs. 38 lbs/box seems like a good target. It's similar to other sources, a little more than Palmer feeds, and doesn't include sugar bricks. I'm in a warmer place, but don't have frugal bees. That's 21.8 lbs 2:1 syrup. Subtracting water weight, that's 14.53 lbs/box. The plan is to feed 174.4 lbs sugar (261.6 lbs 2:1).

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: How much should I feed for winter?

    I am in the same boat but I won't weigh my hives as I just can't.

    I did inside feeding and open feeding. While Open feeding I can put out much more, it was all taken, 2 almost full 5 gallon buckets, but I had a TON of dead bees. I am guessing this is due to the drought and they just piled on one another till they drown the bottom bees
    I won't do that again.... course I now have 2 buckets with holes drilled in them

    I will be going with how they look on the frames. I too use Foundationless frames. While there was rain and nectar earlier I put on the 2nd deep to get them to build out more for Winter. That didn't work out well as it stopped raining and the high heat started

    When were you last in the hives? Is your "boxes per hive: 3, 3, 2, 2, 2" mean you have 5 hives and 2 have 3 medium boxes, etc?

    I see that you posted this last week on a Thursday, have you been back in them since then ?

    FYI, when I open fed I colored the syrup Green. I am sure someone around here has Green 'honey' right about now
    -Linda

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    288

    Default Re: How much should I feed for winter?

    Yes (2.4 med/hive average).

    I froze a nectar frame from 2 weeks earlier. I triggered feeding next to the hives with that and a small feeder. Once full of bees, I moved these to the big feeders. They will finish today (day 4). They're slow. Entrances are ~2 cm^2. Lots of bees died outside the feeders. I want to try rye floats. I think it will be better than marsh hay.

    feeding.jpg
    day 2

    I might make small versions of these feeders to put in hives.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: How much should I feed for winter?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TapF...dbLip&index=14
    Here are mine and a few of their friends at the Syrup Trough lol

    I looked into my hives today and need to feed 2. The other one is doing well enough but will feed it too.
    I put the feeders inside on the top in an empty Med super. Easier to feed this way.

    Sugar is hard to find around here and you are Lucky to find the 10# bags
    -Linda

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