There seems to be alot of discussion on feeding bees. Some just feed because they think they should. Feeding should be done with a purpose as with the following...
1)For feeding light or starving hives
2)for those doing early splits.
3) for those raising queens/nucs
For many, feeding is not needed. If your bees have enough to make it till spring and the first early flow, feeding usually stimulates the bees too early. This will trigger swarming urges prior to the main flow. Losing half your bees prior to the flow, and missing the main honey season is something many do.
If your feeding, do you know why?
In many areas, early blooms of maple and other late winter/early spring plants do a good job allowing the hives to build up to the point that they are maximum numbers, as the main flow approaches. They do a good job of building up as nature allows. Yes, there are some regional factors for some. And feeding may be needed. But for many it is not needed.
Around here, in Pennsylvania, I see some feeding with 60 pounds of honey still in the hives. They feed in Feb/Mar/Apr. The bees swarm in mid-May, and then for the last two weeks of May and June, the bee numbers are less than what they should of been. And the hives miss out on a good part of the main flow.
Over-feeding also keeps the brood chamber from expanding and may result on a honey-bound situation, and then the bee population is limited. Another reason for poor honey yields.
Stopping swarms is always a major beekeeping management task. Are those who are feeding, just making this task alot harder by promoting swarming needlessly? Or are you feeding with a purpose in mind?
[ February 01, 2006, 08:09 AM: Message edited by: BjornBee ]