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What is the basis behind feeding 1:1 syrup in Spring versus 2:1 in Fall?

Here in central NJ we are seeing some nice warm days and mild nights starting in the next few days. Spring is here!!
 

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You'll get 50 different answers to that question but in reality, you will make more trips to feed your bees feeding 1:1 vs 2:1 and that's what it boils down to. They will take the 2:1 down slower than the 1:1, but the rate at which they take down the sugar content remains fairly constant.

If you are in a bit of dearth and want them to continue raising brood, but not to build comb or store the syrup, then 1:2 will keep them thinking there is a flow on and the queen will keep laying (or use fondant to prevent taking down too fast but not store).....if you feed one hive, feed them all the same to prevent any chance of robbing.
 

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Those who feed 1:1 in spring do so because bees draw more comb on it than thick syrup and because they think it encourages them to build up faster. Randy Oliver did a study and found that although they do draw more come on 1:1, it is a very minimal difference (maybe 5% more) and not worth the extra labor involved. I feed heavy syrup all the time now and they build up just as fast if not faster on it than 1:1.
 

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I think the original basis for the two strengths wasn't about the amount of sugar - but rather about the amount of water in the syrup. In Spring, the bees need plenty of water for brood-rearing, and 1:1 more closely resembles nectar anyway (although most nectars are far more dilute than 1:1 sugar syrup), and so this is thought to stimulate the colony into rearing brood.

However, in Autumn (Fall) the need for feeding has changed - at this time syrup needs to be dessicated ready for storage, so the less water in the syrup, the less work needs to be done to it.

In practice, however, the bees cope well enough with whatever they're given ... :)
LJ
 

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For me, in the spring the ease of use with 1:1 makes it much better than 2:1. I put the sugar in a jar, add warm tap water, stir it up and feed the bees. There is no clean up because I make it in the container I am feeding the bees with. Total time from start to feeding, about 5 minutes. With 2:1 you need to boil the water, add the sugar, make sure it is dissolved, let it cool and then feed it to the bees. Then you have to also clean up the mess. Total time from start to feeding, a couple of hours (including cool down time).

In the autumn the 2:1 adds less moisture to the hive which is not a concern in spring and summer. If I believe I will need to be feeding my colonies in the fall, it is better to start early with 1:1 than rushing to get them taking the 2:1. Sometimes, they just will not take it fast enough before winter comes and sugar blocks become the only answer the keep starvation at bay.
 

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I think the original basis for the two strengths wasn't about the amount of sugar - but rather about the amount of water in the syrup. In Spring, the bees need plenty of water for brood-rearing, and 1:1 more closely resembles nectar anyway (although most nectars are far more dilute than 1:1 sugar syrup), and so this is thought to stimulate the colony into rearing brood.

However, in Autumn (Fall) the need for feeding has changed - at this time syrup needs to be dessicated ready for storage, so the less water in the syrup, the less work needs to be done to it.

In practice, however, the bees cope well enough with whatever they're given ... :)
LJ
This ^
 

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Bees have to dehydrate the syrup after they store it in the cells. In the fall its a race against the clock before it gets cold and dehydration becomes harder. Fall nights are already getting cold. 2:1 has half as much water. In the spring you're not really wanting them to store the syrup, you just want to feed them until the flow really gets going.
 

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I really don't agree with 1:1 stimulative spring feeding. I think it's another one of those myths that go on from publication to publication and from generation to generation, without any evidence. I've never fed 1:1. My bees build up well, and in time for the flow. If they're light before the flow, and might starve or shut down brood reraring, they get fed 2:1. Why feed something that's half water when it's sugar they need?
 

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I looked into this a few years back when I started because my 1:1 was spoiling all the time and it was a hassle to keep cleaning my feeders,and replenishing it with fresh syrup. When Randy Oliver, Michael Palmer and Michael Bush all agree to go with 2:1 or heavier, it was good enough for me. J
 

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Yup, Make it as sugar heavy as possible and it won't go bad as fast on ya. If the bees want more water, they will find it.
 
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