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Feeding bees?

2118 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  mailmam
I checked out a previous question on how long to feed bees and there is such a differing of opinions. We are in NW Iowa with weather in the 80's, the fruit trees have bloomed and lots of flower are blooming now. I installed 2 new top bar hives in a cold rainy spell in late April so kept the sugar water flowing. But how long? They will drain the jar if I put it in there but am I encouraging laziness?? They have both hives filled with comb and capped brood so they are working hard. I just don't know when enough is enough. Thanks for any advice.
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Are you using HBH or Oils at all? Anytime that HBH or essential oils are used the bees will continue to take the syrup all season long as it lowers the PH of the syrup to that of honey. And as you know bees love honey. They will take it over the wild necter sources available even in a FLOW. So if you are using either one, stop the use and see if they will just take straight 1:1 syrup alone. If they do then there isn't a flow on but as long as they have stores, it's fine to quit feeding.
Once my new colonies have some capped stores, I stopped feeding. Bees do pretty well in the wild without syrup.

I have fed mine (small feral swarm) for 30 days in a new KTBH. They are now building queen cells and upon closer examination I noticed the hatched brood combs plus the new combs were full of syrup. This causes the small and still weak hive to swarm. I took the feeder away and placed empty bars between all the brood bars hopefully causing them to use up a lot of syrup quickly building new bars and praying they sort it out without swarming or I am in trouble. Just a caution to watch for honey (syrup) bound conditions when feeding. I think this is the biggest risk with overfeeding.
First year beek, I was going to feed my bees as long as they would take it. Three weeks have passed since I first installed my two packages and the bees won't take any more syrup. I guess it is time for me to stop feeding.
Having recently had to address the issue (packages sent without syrup), the consensus appeared to be that a 3 lb package will survive on 1 quart of 1:1 syrup for 3-4 days. If that's true, then ~2 quarts a week should at the very least sustain a 3 lb package until the population rebounds. After that (2 qts), how much more to feed depends on flows (weather), drawn comb or foundation drawing(?), preventing back filling the brood nest...time, money,empathy, lazy bees
There is a big difference between a swarm and a package. The swarm planned on doing this. They are fat and happy when they leave the other hive. I did not feed my swarm at all and they are kicking butt. Sugar water is bad for them. It should only be used to prevent starvation.
I give a new colony some dry sugar (pulverized in a blender) at the bottom of the box, one time just before dumping them inside, and that's it. A water feeder (consisting of a chicken-feeder with round rocks in the trough) is always nearby. It's up to them to arrange for their own food supply from the flowers that are nearby ... and they have always done it.
I just don't know when enough is enough. Thanks for any advice.
I would not give them syrup at this time.
Thank you all for your thoughts, I had thought it was time to quit feeding and now I will.
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