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I've had great success with mountain camp the last few years. Put down a sheet of newspaper on the top frames, a rim, and 10 pounds of sugar. One problem: sometimes they eat through the 10 pounds before winter is over and I have to go in there in January or December and put more sugar. Did that yesterday.

So: Is there any reason I couldn't dump 20 or even 30 pounds of sugar on there and maybe use a shallow super instead of the 2 inch rim? Anyone tried that?
 

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I cut old boxes into 2 1/2" slices for my feeder rims. I had your experience with my routine 10 lb bag not being enough and started dumping half a 25 pound bag. Now that was a bridge too far! Way too much semi loose sugar to be cleaned up on the top bars before one can pull frames when the time comes. Plus when one gets to that stage the bees are hauling it away as fast as they can.

My solution on adding sugar is simple sugar bricks, 10 lb sugar thoroughly mixed with 2 cups of sugar that is packed into Dixie brand paper soup bowls. They dry in the winter cold in a week or so or can carefully flipped over onto cluster if needed. I don't worry about trying to remove the form. Much easier than trying to add loose sugar without mixing live bees into it!

What I feel is an important wrinkle I have added is a 16X20 sheet cut from a food bag or typar to keep bees from clustering above the sugar. One of Randy Oliver's studies found that bees live longer in comb than clustered. I found that the plastic keeps bees down in the frames as the plastic collapses down as the sugar is consumed. I really believe it really helped with March and April dwindling populations.
 

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Vance,

What do you put above your "16X20 sheet cut from a food bag or typar (Tyvek ?) to keep bees from clustering above the sugar." ? Is it your 2 1/2 shim and then just the outer cover?

Thanks,
Steve
 

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When I used mountain camp, the bees hauled it out of the hive almost as fast as I put it in......until it got cold. So I now make 1 cup bricks in a room with a dehumidifier (takes only a day to dry them out). I stack them in a Rubbermaid tub and add them when they clean up what's been given earlier. The day before yesterday it was 45º, so I popped the lid & inner cover and added 2 or 3 bricks to the hives that needed it. If winter drags on past mid-Feb, then I check & add more to those that need it. Yesterday I put in a small square of pollen-patty in to make sure they had a bit of protein if it warms up......more of that when I check again in mid-Feb.

It beats having to try to reclaim the mountain camp that they don't use......just collect the left over bricks to mix & feed back later in the year.
 

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I have a bunch of 4 pound bags of sugar that is as hard as clay bricks (brought them in on a rainy day). Has anyone tried just putting the bags in whole, maybe punch a hole with a knife or something?
 

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I have a bunch of 4 pound bags of sugar that is as hard as clay bricks (brought them in on a rainy day). Has anyone tried just putting the bags in whole, maybe punch a hole with a knife or something?
When they find it, they will eat it and carry out the bag......well most of it anyway. :rolleyes:
 

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NorthMaine: that is exactly what my mentor has done for years. He cuts open one side of a 4 lb bag of rock hard sugar and inverts the cut open bag over a queen excluder. He gets the bags of sugar rock hard simply by leaving them on a shelf in a shed that has no air conditioning.

I mountain camp by pouring loose sugar onto newspaper on top of the frames and spritzing the loose sugar with a water/vinegar mix. It hardens in no time. For a hive that need more sugar later in the winter after some of the initial sugar has been consumed, that technique doesn’t work so well. Pouring more loose sugar would bury bees. To add more I find I have to mix sugar with vinegar and/or water, let it harden in my basement and then add it on top of the frames in chunks. Not practical on a large scale but ok for a hobbyist like me.
 

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My question is why? I'm sure the bees will consume it all if they can, but why on earth would they need 30 pounds if you took care of them prior to winter???
I am already feeding one of my hives. This has been a warm winter here and the hive went into winter with decent stores (20 ish medium frames). I think this hive never shrank down and then have been more active in the warm weather. I would rather feed the hive then loose it. When I shined a flash light in the upper entrance tonight (when it was 20 out) the bees were clustered on the block of sugar. I am going to add more sugar to this hive this weekend (when it is supposed to be 50)

I went with a mountain camp method with damp sugar a few weeks ago in this hive. I am thinking of making blocks to add since it will be easier to add those to what is left of the mountain that I added.
 

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I should have known better, my mountain was on top of the inner cover. Had a deadout on monday that was alive on friday. I put 4 hives in the 50 degree basement (screened) until I can get a feeder rim and sugar directly on top of the cluster this coming friday. That last hive starved because they were to far away from stores.
 

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Right but you could choose to feed addition syrup into the hives in fall and that way it is in the combs and no winter feeding is needed. Not saying that it is wrong to winter feed bricks or mountain camp but why not feed them in the fall and have it in the combs?
 

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>When I used mountain camp, the bees hauled it out of the hive almost as fast as I put it in.....

I found I needed to clump it up by spritzing it with some water as I put layers in. And I get the front edge of it wet to get them interested in it as food rather than trash... otherwise, they would haul it out of the hive.
 

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I have found my hives have consumed quite a bit more stores than they did last year about this time.

I see no problem with putting excess sugar on top as come spring if they haven't used it, I will be making syrup anyways and it will just get used then. Having excess is not a problem, running out kills the colony.
 

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Re Bear Creek Steeve

Above the plastic or typar is a cover of soundboard. It seals the top of the stack and absorbs excess moisture not absorbed by the sugar. Side note, About one in ten colonies all managed identically finds that sound board sopping wet. When I make my rounds in late December early January, I bring a couple spares to swap any out I find. Above the soundboard is a 2" thick epe insulation to make sure that the top of the stack is not the coolest place in the stack where condensation happens. The plastics necessary purpose is to keep the bees from hanging clustered above the sugar and out of the combs where they will live longer and cover more area where brood can be raised.
 

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Vance,

Thanks for your response.
I do much the same as you describe but with slightly different equipment. I use a well ventilated on the sides, 4 inch high wood shavings filled quilt box with a 1 X 3/8 notch on the front bottom. I also have remade most of my outer covers to include 2 inch EPS foam and these stay on summer and winter. I also have a lower 1 X 3/8 entrance, and I believe counter to your approach, an open year around screened bottom board. I've never had a moisture problem.

Steve
 
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