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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I gave some mating nucs, gave them some dry sugar as emergency ratio. I know you guys have this mountain camp method during winter. Do you also use it during summer?

I can see some advantages:

- less robbing
- less work
 

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Makes a mess make some candy much better.
Why not use syrup ?
 

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Why not put a oil tray under the hive and feed them powdered sugar by shaking it on them? kill 2 birds with one stone
 

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I've tried it with regular sugar, and the bees will eat it, but it doesn't seem to help them build up like syrup does. I think I recall that Dan Purvis uses drivert sugar which is more hygroscopic.

Robber screens control robbing while you feed syrup though, and my queens do get mated even with them on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys,

The problem is the weather. Some of the nucs are already eating the sugar. I cannot keep track on the resources they have. I don't have time to feed sugar syrup and I hate to see the robbing it creates on small nucs. I also don't have time to build robber screens. So far I hardly keep up to build the frames and boxes.
This lack of time made me follow Michel’s Bush simple methods of beekeeping like foundation less and narrow frame spacing.

I like the idea with sugar dusting.
 

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Sounds like you are busy, and it may take time to build a pretty robber screen but there are some really simple ones, some beeks just bend a strip #8 wire and staple it to the entrance, maybe two minutes per hive.
 

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Powdered sugar as a mite treatment shows that the bees are interested in getting it out of the hive ASAP, not eating it. I don't think they will eat much of it when dusted, but if you are intending to feed them commercial powdered sugar in any form, be aware of the cornstarch content.

Dry sugar in the summer may mean less work for you but seems to me to be a lot more work for the bees. They will need to liquefy it to be able to store it. In the winter, condensation in the hive is usually enough. In the hot summer, wouldn't they have to bring in extra water beyond that which they normally need?

If they need to be fed, I'd try to find the time to make syrup. I can make 2 gallons in a few minutes using hot water from the tap and a paint mixer in my electric drill.

Wayne
 

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I have tried dry sugar and have seen them carry it out on winter flying days. IMO The only way they eat it is if it is moistened by condensation from a large cluster or water added to it as a mountain camp method. A small cluster of bee will not make enough condensation on dry sugar to be able to eat it.

Last fall I made "Laura's sugar block recipe" and will NEVER go back to dry sugar. I observer bees eating almost every time I opened the lid and did not see any taken out as trash. (Sugar, vitamins + probiotics, citric acid, vinegar and water). I did the no cook method, See my post on her thread, links that had studies that prove adding vitamins was better for the bee's winter survivability... Studies about probiotic and healthier bees... The vinegar added does two things inverts some sugar and bring the sugar closer to the PH of nectar.

MB recommends adding citric acid or vinegar to syrup will to reduce diseases.

Once spring came they ignored the last little bits of sugar blocks, I sprinkled drops of water on them and the bee finished them off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So far they are eating the sugar and I have no sign of robbing. I forgot to mention that it rained a lot in my area. The whole Spring it has been raining on daily basis so the humidity inside the beehives is very high.
 

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The biggest problem with the "Mountain Camp" method in summer is IF they eat the sugar it makes space in which they often build comb. The second problem is it brings ants... I have done open feeding of dry sugar. It still brings ants, but if it's 100 yards from the hives, it doesn't really hurt them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The biggest problem with the "Mountain Camp" method in summer is IF they eat the sugar it makes space in which they often build comb. The second problem is it brings ants... I have done open feeding of dry sugar. It still brings ants, but if it's 100 yards from the hives, it doesn't really hurt them.
I have tons of ants: tiny black ones. If I put a sugar syrup jar up onto a 3 deep hive they're up on it in minutes. They're more up to syrup then dry sugar. I never saw them on frames though, so they're pretty much harmless. They make their way on the inside of the box also up to the syrup :). I really cannot fight this and let them do their thing.

Do you think that if I add a bit of water to the sugar would attract robbers?

Anyway... the new queens are laying fine and soon I will be able to feed them without worry... or most probably it won't be necessary. I let them build their own comb. They prefer building comb rather then foundation. I don't have the time to install foundation anyway. Things are great: the queen lays the newly drawn comb while the bees continues to drawn more down to the bottom bar.
 
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