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My last question on this topic didn't seem to take, as I believe the board was not functioning properly. Here is another try...

I hived my first package of bees about two months ago. Although I believe we are in the middle of a necter flow here in Maryland, the bees are still taking the suger solution from the Boardman feeder.

My understanding was that at some point, the bees would stop taking the homemade stuff, and would get thier own. So my question is, when should I remove the feeder? I'm not really worried about it right now, because I'm not planning on harvesting any honey until next year. But I understand that honey made from suger syrup is not as good as honey made from actual nectar. I know that some people don't believe in feeding the bees at all, so I'd appreciate any and all points of view on this topic.

Thanks!!!
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Feeding them will allow them to build up faster by freeing up some bees for brood rearing that would have been foraging. It costs money and sometimes sets off robbing (probably not in a nectar flow though).

That's most of the pros and cons. It won't hurt to feed them. I just play it by ear. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't depending on the bees and the weather and my available time.
 

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Here in LaPlata, Maryland (we seem to have a lot of new beekeepers in Marylanders using this board!) I too started my first two packages and I'm feeding constantly with 1:1 syrup, per instructions from George Imirie, who also lives in Maryland and is considered an authority (by some!).

I will continue to feed throughout the summer and fall, switching to 2:1 syrup in late September. Maryland nectar flow is notoriously short, and is pretty much over by mid to late June. So, in order to get the bees to draw enough comb and store enough nectar for the winter, you should feed all summer and fall. My bees are taking about a quart or so a week of syrup, even now during the honey flow.
 

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One more thing. George, and many others, suggest that you not use a Boardman feeder, but instead use a one gallon glass jar with 4 or 5 frame-nail sized holes poked in the top and inverted over the inner cover, and then an empty deep, or two mediums over that.

Boardman feeders have many inherent problems:
1. They encourage robbing.
2. They are small and require refilling more often.
3. In cold or rainy weather, the bees won't take from it because it's too far from the cluster. During cold weather, the bees won't move more than an inch or two from the cluster to collect from a feeder, making a Boardman feeder useless for emergency feeding.

These problems are all solved with a gallon feeder, which can also be used for emergency winter feeding by removing the inner cover, and taking 4 gallon jars and inverting them directy on the frames of the top brood chamber. The syrup will drop down onto the cluster and hopefully save them from starvation.

All this, of course, is according to George Imirie's Pink Pages, which can be read at www.beekeeper.org. I highly recommend them, especially if you live in Maryland. Some people are put off by George's rather terse, sometimes insulting, and aggressive writing style.

Kai
 

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>Some people are put off by George's rather terse, sometimes insulting, and aggressive writing style.

When George is right, he's right and when he's wrong he's really wrong.


Good description of his style.

My other problem is he is very "main stream" in the sense he is a firm believer in chemicals, buying queens etc. and defines people like me (who raise their own queens and don't believe in chemcials) as beeHAVERS.

But he knows a lot about how to raise bees in Maryland.
 
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