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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
New beek with 4 hives consisting of 2 deeps, started from 5 frame nucs. When the flow stopped, we began feeding 1-1 sugar syrup. They are going thru 1-2 gallons per hive every 2 days. I have a inner feeder on top of the deeps to try to cut down on robbing. If I have to continue to feed thru the remainder of summer this is going to get very expensive buying sugar. Do you buy sugar wholesale somewhere? Just let them fend for themselves? All suggestions are welcome.
 

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Bees are resourceful little critters, surely they can forage on something in your part of TX...anything that's enough to keep them even without depleting their stores, then you can feed them to get them through the winter.
 

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Best price I've found here is at Costco when feeding last fall/winter.
give them a shot, 25lb & 50lb bags.
 

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Are you trying to feed them up to winter weight already?

If they started as nucs and they are now in 2 deeps, have they drawn and filled out all of the frames in the 2 deeps?

Typically, you will only feed to get comb drawn or to supplement them to get thru winter. And it is pretty early to start building them up for winter. Otherwise, they should find plenty to fend for themselves on normal forage. If in a dearth, they will cut back on brood to make sure there is enough food to go around.
 

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tim and jd>>> the OP is in N Texas, I'm thinking more than dearth. Severe drought maybe.
 

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Where you are, unless you have pulled honey from these hives, I would not feed the bees at this time. Nectar has flora, fauna, and enzymes that are better for the bees' digestive systems and diet than sugar syrup. Check with a local beekeeper about late summer flows like goldenrod and about how much honey they should have going into winter. Protect them from a north wind if you can. I would feed them in early spring after they have started to fly only if they have used up all their winter stores. Others would feed them in early spring regardless in order to stimulate the queen to lay eggs so there will be more foragers when the spring flow starts. Catch a bass on Lake Fork for me.
 

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Sams price today was $18/50lbs. That is the best i have seen. Cheapest before was $21.

For that price I am buying a bag for the pantry. :)
 

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I'm no expert, but I would not feed them past having a second deep filled for winter, and it's early for that. Cut them off and see what they do -- if the stores start to disappear with no real foraging activity, you are going to be stuck feeding them until a flow comes around, or winter gets here.

Bees are greedy, and will continue to draw wax and store syrup as long as you feed it. If they run out of room to store it, they will fill up the brood nest and swarm, too.

I fed my package this year up to a couple weeks ago to get enough comb drawn to overwinter them. Paritally full of syrup, but not capped, and I will leave them on their own until September. I did put a super of extracted frames on, as much to get the frames cleaned up as anything, but it's possible we will get soybean honey this year (couple thousand acres around me planted and growing well, unlike the last few years), so I want them to have the room. They are flying like crazy, so maybe they've found something.

I'm also feeding the small swarm I collected a couple weeks ago, I'll be feeding them up to October, likely. I believe I have a laying queen, so they will be getting a huge amount of syrup and protein patty if I want them full sized. I may leave them as a multistory nuc, though, depending on how fast they build up. May add some bees and brood in the next week or two as well, can't hurt once they are established. I've got them on some "superdeep" frames in 11.25" deep boxes, should be fun to see how they do. A big pain if I ever need to switch frames around, but so far they are drawing them out nicely on syrup and the frame of stores I swiped from another hive.
 

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We put ours back on syrup on the recommendation of the local bee inspector. I think there was still forage, but it was probably poor (they were resorting to crown vetch). So we offered a quart and it was gone by the following morning. So we offered about 3 quarts (4 pounds sugar and 4 pints water) and each hive took that much by the following afternoon. Including a nuc! Where they put it I don't know.

Inspection showed there is no way they could maintain that pace. The greedy little hoarders were pumping syrup into every available cell, leaving barely any place for new brood.

I was taught that they'll stop taking syrup when they have a good nectar flow on, but I'm less inclined to believe it now. I think you just have to inspect and see what stores they have and if they need it. Frequent weighing sounds better and better.
 

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Bees are opportunistic they will take all they can as long as there is storage space. During the dearth it should not be your intent to provide enough syrup for them to build winter stores. Just get them through until fall flow. and yes there is a fall flow in Texas especially north Texas. aster , Joepye, zinnia, blanket flower, twinspur, autumn crocus, straw flower, floss silk, oleander, Ostesoppermun, barcteantha, the list goes on, all bloom in the autumn. Feeding through the dearth should be supplemental not principal.
 

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The decision to feed now is based on your observations and inspections. Questions to ask yourself and perhaps experienced local beekeepers include:

Is there a field force that could gather available natural nectar and pollen?
Have the bees finished building comb for the season?
What is the status of food supplies in the hive? Is there enough stored for a week or two of non foraging? (bad weather)
Is there nectar and/or pollen available naturally?

AND based on the time of year

Have the bees made adequate progress in gathering their winter stores?

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The beekeeper by the nature of the role of beekeeper is responsible for ensuring that the colony has adequate nutrition. A decision needs to be made regarding the bees ability to collect natural food resources and if the conclusion is that the bees can't accomplish what needs doing on their own then the beekeeper needs to provide the nutrition.

I hope no one told you that beekeeping was an inexpensive hobby.
 

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What is the cost of replacing a dead colony that could have been fed?
What is your responsibility to keep bees you purchased?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I knew that keeping bees would be expensive, no doubt. I'm surprised they go thru so much feed daily. I'm guessing that next year, they won't have to be fed quite so much since they will be more established. I haven't taken any honey off and don't plan to at all this year. There is not much blooming in the area around us at this time. I plan on doing a full inspection this weekend, so I'll have more information as to their available stores. Thanks again for everyone's help!
 

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TerriB, why are you feeding them this time of year? Are you doing so to get them to draw comb or are you afraid they need it to survive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've read that you should feed to get them established, and there aren't many flowers blooming in our area at this time. My thinking was no flowers, no food.
 

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This issue of "to feed or not to feed" is a constant struggle for beginners. I experience that tug of war nearly every day! Am i feeding to much? To little? And there are plenty of seemingly contradictory posts to fuel the "should i feed" seesaw (ALL of which are correct within the framework of certain variables).

As a beginner, i've been relying on what i see during inspections, and i have yet to see one full comb of capped stores. This past inspection, there were signs of capping the honeybands above the covered brood, but beyond that, it's all been uncapped nectar. So i've been feeding. And then not feeding for a few days. And then feeding. And all the while, i just have no idea if i'm doing right by the bees. If i find swarm cells this weekend, i'll know i fed too much. If they don't survive the winter, i'll know i MAY not have fed enough! This may be one of those issues that can best be answered with the passage of time ...
 

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Bees are opportunistic they will take all they can as long as there is storage space. During the dearth it should not be your intent to provide enough syrup for them to build winter stores. Honeybee Insect Bee Hornet Membrane-winged insect .
yup they will find and take what ever they can when they can while they can.
 

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Sams price today was $18/50lbs. That is the best i have seen. Cheapest before was $21.

For that price I am buying a bag for the pantry. :)
We pay about 13.95 for 10 kg (22.2 lb)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm sure it's just new beekeeper worry. Estreya, any problems with the feeding, not feeding for a few days method? I'll be doing a full inspection tomorrow, guess I'll see how they're doing then.
 
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