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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Beek Intelligentsia,

Installed my first colony one month ago. Their numbers are increasing, everything looks good and right. They have drawn out a deep hive body and have drawn out half a shallow super (for brood, anything above will be for me). We live in high mountain desert with a ridiculously short flowering season (about 90 days) and long, cold winters. They seem to be bringing in lots of pollen and nectar. They are going through a gallon of 1:1 syrup every two days, though!Their consumption has increased with the new bees being born.

I have two sweet questions:

1. When do I stop feeding them?
2. Do they make honey with the syrup, or do they only use nectar?

Thanks for your responses!
Anja
 

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Some people will tell you to feed them til they have the 2nd hive body drawn out, some will say feed them til they stop taking it. I only do it til the first 2 bodies are done and I run deeps only. The bees generally will draw from nature first, so during daylight hours, they will want to go to flowers and get resources, but some will still take the easy way and go to the feeder. At night more may be tempted to hit the feeder since they can't get out and forage.

As far as will they make honey out of the sugar water, I don't know for sure, but have to imagine that they can. I'm basing this on, it takes honey, and a lot of it, to make wax. We feed our bees to help them do what? Build wax. It's a closer resource available 24/7, so it helps them build quicker.

C2
 

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They will dry the sugar syrup out, use it and store it just like honey, but it is NOT honey. It will stimulate and faciliate wax production, and brood rearing. But bees, as mentioned earlier, prefer natural nectar. And only natural nectar makes real honey. Anything else, especially if sold as honey, is considered adulterated at best, fraud at worst.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Steven,
How do I know that what I am harvesting is real honey? Is dehydrated sugar water capped and identical to the real thing?
Anja
 

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You can taste the difference,it tastes just like sugar water and in my case HoneyBeeHealthy. Just feed it back to them in winter.I've got 5 or 6 gallons of it from last year when there was no nectar.
 

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I think some people here might suggest that you place a second deep over the first to get the colony built up for the fall. After it's drawn out and filled with brood/syrup stores place your shallow back on for the winter.

I'm assuming that it gets cold where you are.

In my opinion it's time to start planning for the season's end.
 

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Anja, dehydrated and sealed sugar syrup is just that, dehydrated sugar syrup. There is a vast difference in flavor and nutrients in honey, vs sugar syrup. As mentioned, once you get your colony built up the way you want it with sugar syrup, pull the syrup and put on the extracting supers.

For instance, I like to run my colonies in 2 deep brood boxes. When I buy a nuc or make a split, I feed feed feed until the colony has drawn 20 deep frames and has some stores in those two deep brood boxes. Then I pull the feed, and give them the shallow extracting supers... during the honey flow they'll draw that super foundation, and fill the supers with real honey. That is what I harvest, not what is in the brood boxes.

Then, after the honey harvest is over, and August rolls around, if they do not have enough honey stored for winter, I'll feed again. But I'm through with pulling honey. That way there is no chance I'll pull sugar syrup, thinking it's honey.

In your case, you have to decide if a deep and shallow is enough to get your bees thru the winter. Check with local beeks...but I'll bet not. Depending upon what you find out, if it were me (and everyone has an opinion lolol) I'd put another deep under the shallow, get them to draw out that second deep. And since the shallow has been drawn with, and has stored, sugar syrup, I'd let them finish that out also, and leave it on for the winter. Then anything above the two deeps and the shallow would be yours, as honey, assuming you pull any feeder before putting on a second shallow super. Hope this makes sense.
Regards,
Steven
 

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When a super is added on top the bees will move "honey" from below up to make room for brood.
Sugar should be fed only after the last extraction or it will be mixed with honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, all, for your advice.
I put the shallow super on my brood box because I didn't have another deep and the first deep was all drawn out. The shallow is full of eggs now. I'll put the deep I just bought under the shallow and let them have their three levels for the winter.
Some say I won't get any honey this year, and some say I will. It's so blasted cold here that I'll just be happy to have my colony survive the winter. I'd be wary of taking any food stores their first year.
Wish me luck.
Anja
 
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