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1816 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  iddee
It started to worm up, today was 55 and 38 at night. The word out there is that we’ll get 20’s at night in about a week and some snow as usual by end of March (it's Michigan). Bees are in cleaning mood dragging out lots of dead bodies... The question is: should I start feeding them now? If I do I’ll be using the foam top feeder with 2 sugars to 1 water. I need some advice, pros and cons.
Thank you
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Why are you feeding and what are your plans?
I do not use hive top feeders, however I don't see them breaking cluster in cold weather to use it.
If they have enough stores that are located where they can use them, and unless you are planning on early splits, I wouldn't worry about feeding yet.
MC, I just saw your web pictures. Beautiful place and family. Gee, I’m missing the mountains!
I didn’t plan on splitting. I started 2 hives last year and I didn’t take any honey. I am planning on buying 3 packages in April and set as many traps as I can get made. The plan is to start some bee/swarm removal too. I sow some ware here that the worst time for colonies in Feb.- March when is no food available and the weather gets good enough for some flights.
I have 2 more questions I’m hoping that you can answer. What is the white stuff on top of your frames on a paper and when was that picture taken. The other question is what kind of bees do you have and what is the source (for my 3 new packages if it’s viable).
Thank you
I love being able to wake up and look at the mountains. We are located just at the Northern edge of the Catskill Mountains and Catskill State Park and Forest Preserve. It is a great place for kids to grow up hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors.
I found over the years that most of my colony loses were generally in late winter / early spring when the colony was raising brood again and we still get some very cold weather. I started wrapping my hives with felt paper to increase solar gain during this time when the sun is getting stronger. I still found that a cluster would sometimes get separated from stores and or off to the south / southwest side of the hive up against the inner cover. If I opened the hives up I disturbed the cluster and the center hole in the inner cover was in the wrong place to feed.
I started placing empty boxes on top of the hives, which allows me to open the hives up and not disturb the cluster. I can place feed where I want to so that the cluster can use them. It is not a perfect system, but it has reduced my winter loses significantly. My home yard was over saturated with colonies this summer with 30. Add to that the poor nectar flows and this yard went into winter with very little stores on most of the hives. I did not get to feed till late October / early November, which is very late for here. With all of that I have lost 8 of 30 hives here, almost all due to simple starvation. No Stores left and separated from stores / feed completely during cold weather.
What you see on the paper in the hives is my winter set up. I place paper on the top bars and put granular sugar on the paper. This serves, two purposes extra feed and moisture control. In the spring, I place pollen substitute on the sugar and the bees take the powder very well this way. The pictures range from November to April, or so with this setup. I have found that on a sunny day with temps in the mid 20’s and warmer the bees will use either syrup feeders or the sugar on paper.
When I have purchased packages they have been from Better Bee or through our club that buys into a truck load.
I started 10 years ago with Italians, then into NWC, the only queens / packages that I have introduced lately have been Russians over the last 6 years or so.
However, I mainly do splits and allow my colonies to raise their own queens.

[ March 10, 2006, 09:27 AM: Message edited by: MountainCamp ]
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Daniel, 2:1 might bee a little strong. We usually reserve that for fall buildup or Storage. Emergency feed is usually 1:1. And just to complete the story we use 1:2 in early spring when we want to imitate nectar to encourage a spring buildup. That's not your goal now.

Good luck,

Hawk, it don't happen often, but I am going to disagree with you on this one. The desired end result for emergency feeding is 17% water finished product in the cells. I would go between 2-1 and 3-1 to make for less water and more feed in the short time they have to condense it.

OK, others, place your opinions here {..}
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Are you really disagreeing? Define "Emergency feeding". Do you mean enough to get through from Nov, Dec? Then we agree. That's actually build up. If you're saying in the middle of March, then yes we're disagreeing. And I'm right and You're wrong. Nyah, nyah.

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Starvation doesn't have a calender. If it's two days before the flow begins and they are starving, yes, we are disagreeing, and your bees are dead and mine are eating. So there!!!
Is as near a razz as I can find.
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Dave, there's enough here for me to get myself killed. Don't give me more temptation. :eek:

in some other places I've seen one of the smiley drinking a beer and the best is the one that can only be described as
"ROFLMAO" (rolling on floor laughing my butt off)

I can see instances where they would fit in nicely

BTW: how are your bees doing?
Mine are rockin
I'm getting a few nuc's from tarheel bee in a couple of weeks


oh yea
setting some swarm traps tommorrow

[ March 11, 2006, 10:45 PM: Message edited by: drobbins ]
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I kinda like this one.

5 out of 7 came through fine. Remember, tho, I sold all my strong hives and only kept my extractions and trap outs that were taken in the fall. I feel I did good saving that many. With extractions and trap outs done in August and afterward it is hard to save any of them. The weakest one has 4 frames of bees and has brood hatching daily.

I have 11 traps out now and am preparing about 10 more. I have had 3 calls already this year, so I expect to have a pretty good year with "rescues".
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