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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
5 Hives-2 Quarts of Sugar Syrup a day Each!

I can't keep these buggers fed fast enough! Each of the 5 hives are hammering 2 quarts of syrup a day. 2 packages installed 3 weeks ago. 2 Nucs installed 3 weeks ago. 1 package installed late April. Should I keep giving it to them while they want it? I'm in NW Georgia and there doesn't seem to be a flow on right now.

Thank you!
 

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That sounds like a lot of feed per day. Are you sure nothing else is going on? I have never bought packages though, so I am not sure if they generally consume more because they have not starting block (no comb). Unless of course you supplied them with some you had in reserve.
 

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If you are feeding week hives, be sure to have entrance reducers in place to prevent robbing. A nuc or newly installed package can't properly defend a large entrance.
 

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How built up are they? I feed only until a colony is a deep and a medium. I then stop and watch to see if they hold their own. if not I feed as needed. I have had hives that can take a half gallon a day. I do not continue to feed at that rate for long. Once a population is up where it needs to be a colony can be left to loiter fairly well.
 

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My 3 lb packages came without any syrup (that was a first!), so I did some digging.
What I came up with was the following:

A quart should sustain a 3lb package 3-4 days. I interpreted that to mean that a new package, with no stores, installed on foundation, can survive on ~2 quarts a week. The population in a new package will normally dwindle until the end of the first brood cycle - 3 weeks after the new queen begins laying, so 2 qts/week should be enough to keep them alive for the first month.

How much you provide (beyond sustenance) becomes dependent on all those other factors - natural flows, drawing comb, concerns about backfilling the brood nest - and on and on.

Bottom line, if you chose to feed, 2 quarts a week should keep them alive for the first month, with absolutely no outside help in the form of natural flows. The rest is up to you ( & them).
 

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Inspect and see if all of your foundations (if any), have been drawn out, if not continue to feed until they are.

If your bees were installed on drawn comb check each colony to see if you have at least 3 or 4 frames of syrup stored. If they do not have that much stored in a 10 frame box continue to feed until they do. Once they have stored syrup you can stop feeding until either they eat their reserve stores, or it is time to check their food supply, and feed for their stores going into winter. You know what your goals are and your inspections will tell you if the bees have achieved them. If your inspections tell you that the bees need feed to meet those goals, then feed. Remember that if you are drawing comb, if the bees stop producing wax it takes a lot of syrup to get them started again. Also remember that you can take away from the strong and give to the weak. Strong colonies are more efficient in drawing wax.
 
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