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We started with 3 hives last spring and use all 8 frame deeps. We fed them into late summer, but haven't since. All 3 hives gave us some honey in the 3rd box and they all had a full 2nd box of stores for winter. This year we're already 4 boxes high but these top boxes have undrawn foundation which slows everything down of course. Is it wise to feed so there's labor saved in not having to fly around looking for nector. Or am I entering the realm of "the more you take care of something the more you HAVE to take care of something?"
 

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Feeding will help them draw out comb as it will simulate a flow. but they will also store the sugar water in the comb as well which makes for bad honey for human consumption.
 

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We started with 3 hives last spring and use all 8 frame deeps. We fed them into late summer, but haven't since. All 3 hives gave us some honey in the 3rd box and they all had a full 2nd box of stores for winter. This year we're already 4 boxes high but these top boxes have undrawn foundation which slows everything down of course. Is it wise to feed so there's labor saved in not having to fly around looking for nector. Or am I entering the realm of "the more you take care of something the more you HAVE to take care of something?"
Feeding helps with building up prior to main flow.......drawn comb saves energy and time. I don't feed once the flow is on. I got lots of .25 sugar in February--it's all gone. Trying to get some cut comb action now--where the bees build and fill new comb in fast action. I use thin foundation without wires. Hives need to be boiling out to accomplish this.
Good luck with your project, Tom
 

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One must first consider the ultimate goals of the beekeeper as well as the progress of the flow when determining weather to feed or not. As a general rule bees do not take syrup if a flow in on. like most creatures on earth (humans excluded) bees instinctively know the source of highest value food. A bee keeper who's primary concern is growing strong overwintering colonies, or increasing hive numbers, who have no regard toward honey may find continuous feeding advantageous. It takes the consumption of roughly 6 pounds of honey for the bees to produce 1 pound of wax. When flows are only moderate the bees will not have an excess of stores to build comb on. In that case comb building takes a back seat to preservation of the colony. By maintaining resource income through feeding one can encourage the bees to take advantage of the resources to expand storage space.
 

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As stated, if you want comb you will need a large supply of moderate sugar content "feed" -- either nectar or syrup via feeding. It can be a pain to get deeps drawn out without a strong flow, so you might consider feeding. I prefer not to feed past when they have what I think they need for winter storage, here that's two deeps of comb. They may not make much more comb beyond that minimum without feeding if they don't have it drawn by the end of the main flow, or when the fall flow finishes, if you have one. We sometimes do and sometimes do not, depends on the soybeans and goldenrod.

If you do feed to get comb, it will contain invert syrup, not honey, or a mixture of honey and invert syrup. Won't be really tasty and won't meet the criteria for "honey" in most places, so don't try to sell it.

Peter
 
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