As far as I am concerned, it's a complicated question. My hive has about 50 lbs (8 deep frames) of capped honey. And I see them coming in loaded with pollen. So I am not feeding. However, I am ready when they are.
So what does your hive tell you?
I would say to do an inventory on stores or better yet weigh the hives to get an idea how much weight they need to gain. You do not want to plug the queen and limit the amount of winter bees by feeding too soon. As rwlaw says, the really light ones could probably start to use feed now. If you are still in the dearth it would probably start the queens laying if they have shut down.
Waiting too late gets you into a bad spot where it is too cold for the bees to take feed and also have time enough to dry it down. Moisture problems.
You have to know your season and location. Bees will accept feed fast in early fall if they need it. We are fixing to hit our fall flow and the strong colonies (double deeps) won't need a drop of feed they will pack it away. Our 5 framers and 10 framers will build up on the fall flow but likely will not sock enough away to over winter ideally. They might survive without feed but we need colonies in early March laying without holding back. Without the assurance of plenty of honey the colony won't build right or starve.
I plan to start weighing hives next week after I pull/condense hives. I shoot for around 35lb honey by end of October. Once I figure out total feed needed I'll start making 15gal batches of 2:1. Feed middleend of September thru beginning of October with hive top feeders.
Based on our season with a large amount of summer rain im expecting to feed very little this year. Last year was also good but not as good as this year and only half needed feed and the ones that did it was just like 10lbs.
I wait until I can no longer smell goldenrod...about September 10...and than weigh all hives. Anything under target weight gets appropriate amount of 2:1. Plan is to finish by first week of October so the bees can ripen the syrup.
The nucs in the home yard were fed first round last week, will get another round today or tomorrow. The larger colonies out in the fireweed patch will get get a patty and a gallon of syrup the day after they come home which should be later this week.
I don’t get a fall flow here. Shiny sumac just finished blooming about a week ago. From here on out things start getting desperate for the bees and their foes. So with that in mind I started feeding last week to try and curb the robbing by wasps and other pests that I’m going to encounter if I have to feed in September. This is the first year I tried this so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
I started feeding late July because of the dearth. They went down to 1 frame of brood per deep and now are up to 5 frames of brood. The stronger hives also have made some new comb with some drone brood. Should I be concerned that they might swarm? I added mite treatment and would rather not go through all the frames looking for queen cells. Hives in north Texas. any thoughts?
It depends. Do you extract in the Fall, and how do you feed? Open feeding will eliminate any Fall extraction. Individual hives without resources will die if you don't feed them. So, if you don't extract in the Fall you can open feed, or just focus on the individual hives that need it.
What do most of you feed this time of year? 1:1, 2:1 etc... I've been feeding my splits from July 1:1 but am thinking it better to start the thicker syrup for better stores as they have plenty of drawn comb at this point.
It depends on their stores. If they have adequate stores and the fall flow is good, I might not feed at all in the fall, just put on a sugar brick in early Dec.
If, like this year in my area, flows are spotty, harvest was small and stores are so-so, I will start feeding about a week after Labor day. So next weekend I will make 2:1 syrup available for them.
As Tennessee's Bees stated, "You have to know your season and location". Everyone will have different timing. In my area the dearth starts as soon as blackberries are done. For me, that is about the 4th of July. I have been feeding ever since. I check them every 2 weeks and when they have enough stores, I lay off the feed for a couple of weeks. Constant monitoring is needed until winter comes. We do get a small flow from ivy that starts in mid September but that is it.
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