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Hi All

We live in central Wisconsin and are new to bee keeping. In tow days (April 2) we will be getting our first package of bees to install into our Top Bar Hive. We have most of the installation figured out but have a couple of questions.

-- What is a good way to feed the the bees after installing them. The place we're getting the bees from sells the syrup for feeding and thought we should get about 2 gallons. But we don't know how to feed it to the bees and for how long. If you could, please be specific as to the feeding method, what kind of feeder to use, location of the feeder, etc. If dry/dampened sugar is the recommendation then what kind of sugar and where would you place it?

-- It sounds like a direct release of the queen is the way to go. In reading how Michael Bush does it, he says to direct release the queen down into the hive so she doesn't fly away. Specifically how is this done? Do you take the plug out of the queen cage and just hold it down into the hive where you just dumped the bees? How far down in the hive do you hold it? Does the queen just walk out or do you shake her out?

Thanks for all your help.

Steve & Jeannie
 

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Thanks, you have also asked the same questions I have! Looking forward to the replys
 

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Wow, sounds like they saw you coming, how much do they want to charge for 2 gallons of syrup? BTW syrup is made of water and regular white table sugar, mix in equal parts by weight (for spring feed) it gets 2 parts sugar to 1 part water in the fall.

Now if they are trying to sell you medicated syrup, that would be a different matter, but as I understand it most TBH folks dont want "drugs" in the hive.

As for the queen, Do Not Shake, release gently.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info on the syrup concentration and the queen release. They want $0.29/lb. Didn't seem too bad.
 

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Wow, sounds like they saw you coming,
Brac, please explain exactly what you mean by this comment.


To the OP, from a search in the topbar forum for "feeding packages", here are some other discussions on the feeding of new top bar hived packages that might be helpful.

"feeding" - http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228402

"Feeding a new hive &...." - http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228111&highlight=feeding+packages

"Packages coming next week" - http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208546&highlight=feeding+packages

"Keep Feeding?" - http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=207688&highlight=feeding+packages

"Feeding freshly hived packages" - http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=219000&highlight=feeding+packages

Sheri
 

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To feed I simply take a mason jar or other such container, poke some tiny holes in the lid, and upturn it on some sticks or something to elevate it so the bees can get underneath the feed. The only concern is ensuring that the bees don't entomb the feeder in comb. To avoid this, simply monitor the comb construction within the colony and keep moving the feeder out of the way.

Cheers,
Matt
 

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I cut a 3/4" by 4 1/2" hole near the bottom of one end. The hole fits the boardman entrance feeder. and then can be used for a second entrance or as a way supplying water for the bees after the feeding is done.
 

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My follower board is cut to accept a boardman feeder from inside the hive. No robbers that way.
 

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Hey Steve and Jeannie,

I started some top bar hives with my brother when I was working in Wisconsin. Not too far from you in fact. Since I tend to have to improvise with the equipment for my top bar hives in Honduras (can’t get all the nice nifty equipment you have up north) I decided to take the same approach with the hives in Wisconsin. KISS—keep it simple stupid.

We used plastic one-gallon milk jugs as feeders. They had to lie on their side since the hive wasn’t quite deep enough for them to stand up. We cut about a three inch hole in the side that would face up and put a tube of window screen down it, so the bees could climb in and out without drowning. Then we just butted it up close to the bees. It worked just fine. When you put it into the hive, dribble a bit of syrup on the top of the jug so the bees can find it a bit easier. Move it back a bit as the combs are being built.

http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s313/Tomas_fotos/Tbhfeeder01.jpg

http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s313/Tomas_fotos/Tbhfeeder02.jpg

I would probably feed them syrup (corn or sugar) at least until the dandelions start. That’s usually the first strong nectar flow in Wisconsin. If they are still small by that time and still want to take up the syrup and the weather isn’t the nicest, you could probably keep feeding them for a bit more.

Sometimes we would buy corn syrup for the hives. Other times we just mixed sugar and water. Both work just fine for us. I never tried dampened sugar with the hives in Wisconsin. The hives here in Honduras get fed with totally dry sugar in form of a candy board and they eat it up just fine (but this is with Africanized bees and with the climate conditions here in Honduras).

I never did a full direct release of a queen with a package in a top bar hive in Wisconsin—especially one that was getting started without any combs. Out first trapezoidal tbhs got started with a couple swarms we caught in trap hives the first year. From then on we always had some comb available to give a package—even if it was just two or three combs. We would dig out most of the candy so the queen would be released easily that same day. The cage was hung between two of the combs. The bees clustered nicely on those combs.

I wouldn’t shake the queen out of the cage. It would be too easy to hurt her that way. Let her walk out if you are going to direct release her.

My brother just wrote me after unwrapping the hives last weekend. We went into winter with a dozen top bar hives—basically divided between trapezoidal hives and rectangular hives. The trapezoidals had a much better survival rate, which surprised me, since they were all a bit smaller than the rectangular ones. Don’t know exactly why.

Good luck.

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Tom
 

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At $0.29 a pound he is probably selling HFCS. If the High Fructose Corn Syrup is not processed right it has a high level of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), heating over 120 increases HMF dramatically. Humans tolerate HMF, except a little ADHD and neurological trouble, bees die. Beekeepers feed HFCS because it is cheap, just be cautios of the source.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi All

As of April 2nd, the bees are in their new home. We settled on a using a quart jar for a feeder. I poked several small holes in the lid of the jar and made a frame to hold the it in the back of the hive (see pics on below links). Hopefully this will work. Installing the package went pretty smoothly. We direct released the queen into the pile of bees at the bottom of the hive. Hopefully all will go well.

And as of today (April 5th) the bees seem to be doing well. The weather has been in the 50's and low 60's with some sun and the bees are very active. Lots of bees flying and going in and out of the hive. Today (3 days after install) we plan to open the top cover just enough to check out the feeder.

Links to feeder picture

http://www.hubings.com/Pictures/Bee Feeder (1).JPG
http://www.hubings.com/Pictures/Bee Feeder (2).JPG
http://www.hubings.com/Pictures/Bee Feeder (3).JPG
http://www.hubings.com/Pictures/Bee Feeder.JPG


Thanks all for your responses and advice.

And Tom, thanks for your reply and info on your Wisconsin experience. The place we bought the bees from (Honey Glow Farms) had given us your e-mail and your brother's phone number to contact for advice. I'm sure as the summer goes on we'll be asking lots more questions.

Thanks again

Steve & Jeannie (The Newbees :lookout:)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just an update. We checked out the feeder this afternoon (3 days after installation) and they had eaten almost the whole quart of feed. Looks like the feeder is doing it's job.

We have an observation window in the hive so we took a peak and as of yet they are not drawing out any comb that we could see. Most of the bees seemed to be in a large clump in the middle top of the hive. Don't know what to make of that??

Steve & Jeannie
 

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Steve/Jeannie,

I bet that if you moved that clump out of the way you'd see some beautiful white comb hanging from your bars. :) I hived a swarm a couple weeks ago and within 3-4 days I had a few fresh combs directly under the clump.

Cheers, and have fun!

Matt
Yep. Same thing with our top bar nuc. The bees seemed to be just hanging in a clump for more than a week, then the other day I got curious and found comb on four bars just like Matt said. I'm sure they're working on it.
 

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I had the same thing last week and the bees left on the 4th day. I caught them and put them back. They left again on the 6th day and I couldn't find them.
 
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