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And about half of the hard to pronounce ingredients are in the Vitamins and Electrolytes Plus that Lauri recommends. Maybe not so far out of the apiary after all.
 

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texas....
I am new. My opinion is that if you don't want babies, feeding any is too much. I have always heard that if you start feeding pollen you need to give them all they want and keep feeding untill real pollen comes in. I have read on randy olivers site that if the bees do raise brood with out rescources that the larva that was not feed good will be poor foragers and it will impact the loads of pollen they carry and how many carry pollen when those babies become foragers. To me with not experiance that says don't feed any and if you do, give them enough to do all they want to do till real pollen begins. I have elected to give them none.
Good luck
gww
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Gww, I think this is where the beekeeping being local comes in. I have stated before that I intend to give any hives that survived this winter a boost for production. Our maple starts blooming mid Feb so it is not really that much of a head start. In MO, I don't know when the good stuff becomes available so the timing could be way different. My goal is early splits but the more foragers you have when the flow starts, the better your harvest should be too. Hopefully, I'll be able to check on the girls this weekend. Have to go out of town during the best days we'll have had in several weeks.

Even though I don't have chickens any more, my neighbor's coop is about 50 feet from my hives. I need to warn them about the potential for bees in the feed.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I should add that most of my bees are africanized. All wild-caught colonies. Last year in a 'battle' 10 hens & my rooster were killed by an angry colony, and other birds left partially blind. It was a real mess. That colony was removed. And my hens all free range. My younger birds are penned (about 6 wks old now).

That feed ingredient list looks like a chemistry book. I suppose I don't look at what I eat either for that reason!
 

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jw
I had your name at the top of the last post on accident.

To your point of locations, your post makes it more one of goals. You want splits and probly want them as early as you can get them. I just watched a differrent vidio from someone who said all you need to look at to see how a hive was doing was to watch the pollen band between the honey on top and the brood. He pointed out that if it was empty and their was brood that bad things seem to happen to the hive. But he also pointed out that there are times and reasons to just let things happen. So my goal is swarm control and not having to adress it earlier then needed and even though this may impact forager numbers for the flow, if I am using local bees used to my location that I decide to relie on the bees to get it right. On randies articals on build up and decline of the hive, you can get this wrong and peak too early and also too late. I don't have the experiance and so just decide what I want most and then take all the things I have read and see if I can pick parts that might get me to my goals.

I am not going to feed pollen also cause I don't want to buy stuff and am willing to take what I get with out buying stuff. I think pollen substitute is a good investment if I take others test when using it to keep healthy bees but for my hobby bee keeping, I have differrent goals on what to work on.

As far as warning your neibor with chickens, if you have anyone with cattle and saw mills, the bees will be on them at the same time they are on chicken feed.

My trees will be close to your trees but it is usually too cold for the bees to use them well. Last year it was warm in feb and the bees got on them early. They also swarmed early. It got cold again in late march early april and my bees started swarming on the 13th of april on the first few 70 degree days. So I did not feed them pollen but the extra warm inviroment did and I saw the results and so my goal is to have the bees a couple of weeks further into april before I start losing the swarming battle. That at least gets me past the last frost date to do my manipulations or splits if needed to stop swarming.

I have heard (not experianced) that once you start supplimenting, you need to keep it up untill natural pollen comes in.
Cheers
gww
 

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I had something break into my brood house one time and kill (14 I think) in one night. My guess is it was a ****. I have forgot the door open a couple of times and lost one or came home and found a possum eating in the food bowl and half the chickens out side at night. My neibor forgot the door open and just lost eight in one night. I would be looking for some queens and try to requeen the african hives. I am glad that so far it is not a worry where I live cause I have been scared by the horror stories. I am surprized that the chickens being free range could not find a way to get away from your bees. I can see where it was a mess. You gotta hate days like that.
Cheers
gww
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I agree with your assessment. If you start feeding early, you have to continue until the flow starts or they will out brood the resources available were you to stop. The chemically sounding stuff in the food we eat is mostly vitamins and minerals (or cancer causing preservatives). On a slightly different note, I just looked at the ingredient list on Arnold Healthy Multi-grain bread. The sixth item is "cellulose fiber". I may be wrong , but isn't that the same as sawdust?
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Gww,

Try chickendoors.com , solve your closing the coop at night problem easily. Too many predators.

Yeah, it was a really bad mess. Rooster was probably 150ft away where he died. It was my fault, I had opened the hive for inspection. I went back to the house right after that & didn't realize what was happening for about 10 minutes.

While I don't like the aggression, there are many benefits. I'm having 0 percent colony failures. No issues with varroa or SHB. Little to no robbing issues. And requeening is nearly impossible with colonies like this. But they really are less work than Europeans, just always suit up. And I moved most of the hives about 500 ft away.
 

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The sixth item is "cellulose fiber". I may be wrong , but isn't that the same as sawdust?
Lots of things could be the 'cellulose fiber' ingredient. 'Straw' would also qualify.:D

Note that hay and straw are not really the same. Hay includes the seed pods, is intended to be relatively nutritious and good alfalfa hay might be around 15% protein. Straw is the stalk that remains after the grains are stripped off, and straw might be around 3% protein.
 

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I've watched the bees in the chicken feed standing along side the chicken farmer ( it's how he convinced me
that we needed to try to keep the bees out of the feed). The pollen feeders have been used there in early spring ever since.
Anyway, Neither one of us has ever seen a chicken eat a live honey bee over the years. Other bugs, yes, but never a honey bee.
 

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They get into bird feeders as well. I've watched dozens of them land in my neighbor's feeder that's full of the mixed seed stuff. They burrow and bury and generally roll around in the stuff like a cat in a field of catnip. they come out all dusty and dopey looking and fly off with about a teaspoon of powder covering them. By early spring, my bottom boards are covered in bits of cracked corn and millet seeds. I have no idea what they are doing with it, but they sure seem to like it. They stop once the maple pollen comes in.
 

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Those little girls are really frustrating, I wish they would read some of the better books on bees.

So this morning I go out, it's low 40's, maybe 8am. No bees, they've done a great job of picking up all of the ultra bee (yellow vs tan chicken feed) and most of the chicken feed powder. I stir it, there is still some ultra bee buried that they couldn't reach. But I also notice quite a bit of chick grains that have been tossed out of the pan. OK. So I mix in another cup of chicken feed powder and maybe 3 cups of ultra bee. I get the good idea to get my small weight scale (accurate to 0.1 oz up to 13 lbs), & I'm going to weigh it. Weigh in now & tonight to see how much they take. What, 2 minutes? I get back & at least 200 bees are on it. It's mid 40's F. girls! Go back to bed! I try to pick it up, 5 fly into my beard (no stings, but nobody likes this). I stop before they get upset. Four hives are only 75 ft away, most are about 500 ft back. I did get a picture, you can see the grains in front. The pan is one of those commercial kitchen types, maybe 12"x18" for scale.

I'll have to try it again tomorrow.

I still would like guidance on how much to feed daily for 10 hives. They will take all I put out, I bet I can put out 5 lbs and it'll be gone this afternoon. Trying to slow things down... and I have have at least 10 more lbs of chicken feed powder (chickens won't eat it as it's gotten messy).
pollen feeder.jpg
 

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I still would like guidance on how much to feed daily for 10 hives.
Who know's? too many variables.
Look into the hive and see how much pollen is stored in there. A couple of deep frames equivalent is fine to begin brooding with,
natural pollen will be available soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
It's now 52F outside. How does the song go, "an hour later, the cops arrive"...

pollen feeder-1hr.jpg

Note that it's just a base & some boxes to the left, something to support an open sugar-water feeder I set up some time back (no feed in it now). I did have to destroy the disco ball from yesterday, not sure what they're building today. But I did hear them singing/humming "that's the way, uhhu uhhu we like it, uhhu uhhu."

As it warms up today & I'll go & inspect some of my hives out back to see what stores they have. They're the cutouts from this past year so they'll have the lowest stores. I'll also put some ultra bee on top of the inner cover so they can private feed inside (unless that's a bad idea?). Maybe 1/2 cup in each hive?
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I've typed this 2 times now... let's see if I can get this post right.

56F outside. When I forget things, it hurts. The more I forget the more it hurts. Forgot the smoker, it was only going to be a quick look, right? And, forgot to double sock. 5 nails in the ankles.

Hive examination. Plenty of honey/sugar water. Looked in 2 hives. Some pollen, not lots. Didn't get a good look into the brood, was doing the ankle dance at that point. But it doesn't look like much if any build-up is going on. I did put maybe 1/2 cup of ultra-bee on top in the hives, will go back maybe in a few days (with double socks) & see if they took it in.

My bees are like me: when food is available I'm lined up. I should have guessed, 3 cups of ultra bee were probably gone within an hour of the mob. They were digging down for what was buried. This picture was maybe 3-4 hours after the feeder was filled. I put another cup or two on top (ultrabee).

I'm not sure if they were singing, I thought I heard a line of "hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go"... we're the dwarfs miners? But they stopped and seemed to enjoy my post-ankle-pain dance.

pollen feeder-3 hrs.jpg
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Karen Carpenter's "We've OnlyJust Begun" is the song I think your bees might be singing. Until you have a couple of deeps per hive filled with sub, I would keep feeding as much as they can take in 5-6 hours, then do it again each day until you have those frames or natural pollen starts.
 

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Glad you are putting out the good sub. It's hard to say how much is enough but I would put some out every day and see what happens. Here in middle Tn. It usually turns cold before they get going with much brood when I put it out early. Let us know if they take it dry inside the hive. I haven't had any luck with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
JW,

Wow, I think you've hit a couple of bullseyes. First, I didn't realize they had found my wife's old record collection. We probably have that on CD as well.

But the quantity is a key thought. OK, up north a hive needs 2 deeps full to make it through a typical winter. Down here the 'rule of thumb' is to give them 3 supers, or a deep and a super full going into winter. If I break it down, Sept/Oct was when everything stopped & they began living off their stores. This will continue into March/April when nectar flow exceeds consumption. Call that 6 months. Let me break that into 2 supers full of honey/pollen (leave 1 for brood). Let me round that to about 150 lbs of food stores.

That's a bit high, the 'rule of thumb' here is closer to 70 lbs of honey. They do find some food over that time, but let me split the difference: 100 lbs. OK, easier math. At this point I'm 1/2 way through 'winter', so 50 lbs are already gone, so they need maybe 50 lbs. That works out to roughly one full medium 10 frame. And I'd put that at 80% honey/ 20% pollen. So roughly 8 frames of honey & 2 more of pollen. For those splitting they might need a little more, for those not maybe a bit less.

So maybe I'm answering my own question. Some of my hives are fat & getting fatter (just like their daddy, I'm so proud! Cough cough). Some will need a little more help. The new colonies will need more pollen. I'll see how individual hive feeding will go but know some robbing will be an issue (so I'll likely do a public feeder an hour before the individual feeding).

Yes, that Carpenter's song sounds perfect.

All that's left is to look at pollen for an early ramp-up for splits. If I have 4 weeks of feeding pollen, maybe a cup a day for the next 2 weeks, then 2 cups/day for the next two? That's for public feeding, a little more for hives needing help. At least it's a starting point. "We've only just begun"... Many thanks to all those who contributed here.
 

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texas
I am not sure your math is correct. Just cause half the time went by does not mean half the stores were used. When they start rearing brood is when the big portion of stores would be used and not much before that. The reason for 70 lbs is because the bees will raise some brood in preperation to have the work force to collect when the flow begins. They should hardly have used much yet but if you feed pollen and they raise brood, they will use a lot. I am new and do not mind being corrected if I am saying something wrong.
Cheers
gww
 

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Discussion Starter #40
gww,

That has merit. I think you get more consumption early on (lots of bees alive). It rolls off going into winter. And it really ramps up in Spring as larvae are being fed leading up to the population explosions BEFORE the nectar flow when food will start to come in.

So maybe 35 or 40% of consumption has happened? These are all ballpark estimates. I'll have to monitor the hives over the next few months. But they are far from being at 'critical' levels.

Oh, I'm not sure if my alternate feeding is helping or hurting. Still have plenty of bees today in the chicken feeders. I only gave them 1 cup of ultrabee this morning. So I think they sucked it down in no time then went on looking for other sources.

I'll be trying another version. I got some patties from a friend who ordered too much. I'll give them some of that tomorrow. I'm curious if that will take them more work to eat as a 'chunk' rather than just powder.

I am enjoying being able to stand feet from a few thousand bees flying around without protection. That just doesn't happen with all my africanized girls. Happiness is found through a bee's stomach! A whole lot cheaper than diamonds & gold.
 
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