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So with too much time on my hands now that fall has reached here. I got to thinking about feeding and when would it not be cost effective. For example if you had to feed a hive all winter. How much 2 to 1 syrup would you be talking about? I can understand that feeding in late winter to stimulate the queen into laying but I was thinking if a package of bees is around $70 give or take, at what point do you say feeding until spring is not worth it? This will be my first winter so I would like to have an idea of what you all would do with a colony which is low on honey in say Dec. or Jan. I'm sure it differs with each state and the size of the colony but I was looking for some idea.
 

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It is always cost effective in my book
if your alternative is the death of the
colony and replacing it with a package.

Overwintered bees will outperform a package
every time.

Not sure of your area but here in the tundra
on average a colony takes about 5 gallons.
Thats 42 pounds of sugar at 65% Brix. I pay
14 cents a pound for sugar. The math is
overwhelming for feeding.
 

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I live here in same level as Anchorage Alaska.

Here 2-box beehive needs on average 40 lbs dry sugar (given as syrup) and it lives with sugar from September to May. It is 9 months.

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at 45 cents per pound for sugar and the cost of a replacement package of $70 I would calculate the break even point at about 155.5 pounds of sugar. feeding 1 to 1 that would be about 311 pounds of feed or about 30 gallons.
 

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If you have a hive that will store and consume syrup all winter at a rate to make it more economical to buy a new package, I want some queens from them. They would have to build up so big in the spring that you would need to double your supply of supers.
 

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When speaking of "economy" you have to include
the fact that an overwintered colony will, in
most every case, produce a considerably larger
honey crop.

The replacement cost of $70 (which is to low)
is just the beginning. If an overwintered hive
makes 50# more honey..... then that has to be
factored in.
 

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<Sierra:If you have a hive that will store and consume syrup all winter at a rate to make it more economical to buy a new package, >

Let's have a look my hives last summer.

*If I have ONE BOX HIVE over winter, it is able here to get yield at the beginning of July.
Our natural build up starts about first of May when willow starts blooming.

* If I have TWO BOX HIVE after winter, I may give to it protein feeding that hive is ready to forage dandelion and garden yield in the beginning of June. Hive needs 2 months to raise foraging bees enough.

* These 2-box hives got last summer 80 lbs head start during June.

* If you have package or nucleus hive with 5 frames, it is not able to get surlus honey that summer just at all.

* I am able to get normal yield from the hive which is twist size in late April when our spring starts. I feed best hives with pollen patty and keep 15 W electrict heating on bottom board. So I get third box of bees into biggest hive I give one box to weak hives in the beginning of May. So they have almost same start as one box wintered hives. This way I prevent swarming too.

Our yield season are June and July. Flowers bloom enough any more in August. Good June yield flowers are dandelion, raspberry and spring canola.

For July yield hives develope by their own help. It depens so much on yield pastures.

If I have little hive in June and when it is warm and good yield, hive only expands rapidly but bees are old enough to get yield in July. If we have red clower nectar in August, hive is able to forage normally, but oo late.

Those late developing hives we call "flesh hives". Awfully bees but not honey. The reason is that bees emerged too late to forage.

Same happens when chalk brood destroys brood in May and when hive will heal in June, it expands like grazy. But too late.

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Here over wintered hive value in spring is something 300 US $ . It has in May about 6 lbs bees and one box full of brood.
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finman adds:
Do you get 150 lbs honey from package hive during one season?
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tecumseh replies:
at this location that would be a very large fantasy. certain geographical location can such as where sundance is located.
 

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If you want honey to exctract, package bee hive developes so slow that it is vain to compare wintered hive and small nuc to each other.

When you have a hive in autum, it is very simple to feed it full sugar and let it bee over winter. It is smallest job in beekeeping.
 

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also i would like to say that just cause your hives eat a lot dosnt always mean that it will make a ton of honey. we have one hive kinda my pet hive. i dont think it has ever made more than 20lb of surplus honey and there is no hive that can take down the feed and pollen like that one. i would requeen it but like i said it is more like a pet than a hive lol. Nick
 

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<also i would like to say that just cause your hives eat a lot dosnt always mean that it will make a ton of honey>

????????????

Why to feed is that I take all honey away in the end of August and give 40 lbs sugar for winter. They live with sugar untill to May and sugar is meaning to be near finish. Always they need to have 2 weeks food store.

Then hives get honey about 150 - 300 lbs per hive. They are petty hives to me.

20 lbs suprlus honey! 4 capped frames - I have never heard that size yield! How they stay alive?


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pretty much what we do is feed hive at eh end of summer so they have enought feed for winter. then coming out of winter most hives get about 2-3 gal to get them built up. so coming out of winter this hive will suck down the 3 gal of feed in half the time of most hives. and eat pollen paties like they are going out of style. but then during the summer when most hives are makeing the big crop this hive just kinda dinks around and makes only enought to keep them alive but this year they made me about 20lbs of surplus. so most of our hives take about on average i would say 3-4 gal in the fall and 2-3 gal in spring so most hives get about 5-7 gal a year we get sugar for about .50 a lb kinda pricey and cut it in half with water. so we are paying about 2.75$ a gallon so per hive per year we feed about 15-20$ sounds like a lot but we have only 1% die to sarvation and we need hives build up fast for early polination other wise we would probably not feed so much in spring. regards Nick
 

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Say you pull five gallons of honey stores from the bees, about two mediums worth. That's around 60 pounds and sell it for five dollars a pound, that's $300.00

You buy HFCS at .20 per pound or $2.31 per gallon (11.55 ppg) or $11.55 to replace the five gallons of honey you took.

You are $288.45 to the good and your bees have the same amount of stores to get through the winter. So, even if you feed twice as much syrup, you are way ahead.

Edited to correct math :rolleyes:

[ November 20, 2006, 11:25 PM: Message edited by: BULLSEYE BILL ]
 

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Sundance, I’m with Ruben, where do you get sugar for 14 cents a pound??
 
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