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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a hive of bees take up residence in a old hive the end of last summer. I didn't feed them at all over winter and expected them to not last over the winter; they did well all winter and flew most days. I decided to start feeding them sugar a few ago hoping to build the hive up. I am using a two tray top feeder. I put the feeder on two days ago and put in sugar water (made up of 5 gals hot water and 25 lbs sugar) I just checked the bees and were surprised to find the bees are not eating the sugar water at all.
In the past I have fed bees sugar water and went crazy over it and kept me busy keeping the feeder full, these are first bees to ignore the food. Is this usual, does it take a few days to find the food. Any ideas or suggestions.

Thanks,
D
 

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Two things come to mind. Is the syrup unspoiled and over about 55 in temperature? Both will keep the bees from taking it. Alternatively, they may be on a natural flow and no feed without lemon grass oil can compete with that. The bees like the real thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply. The sugar water is fresh and at ambient temp, 70'ish. I believe it is too early for the spring flow here in central Alabama. I will put a drop or two in of lemon grass oil and see if that helps.

D
 

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D, I'm about ten miles south of Opelika and hives are definitely storing some nectar, although not copious amounts. I have found hive populations and brood production to be greater than what I typically find at the end of February. The warm winter, and extensive rain, has many nectar sources blooming as much as three weeks early. I have opened the brood nest on several hives, added brood boxes to some, and have already made a couple of splits. Swarming will probably start around here after the cold front forecast for next week. I would recommend changing your water/sugar ratio and see if the bees take it. Robbing and starvation of hives is the risk to hives in our area right now.
 

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I believe it is too early for the spring flow here in central Alabama.
you might be surprised at the nectar availability. what are you seeing inside?

seeing just a little fresh nectar would be normal for now. most of what is coming in is being used for brood food.

if you still have any capped honey left the feeder is not necessary, and providing syrup at this time could push your bees into swarm mode early.
 
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