Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking about trying this - feeding dry sugar or candy during our July/August dearth. I figure they will probably eat it if they need it to keep from starving, but not if they have any nectar. Maybe it will help to prevent excessive brood production during the summer compared to feeding syrup , and less likely to set off robbing.

Anybody tried it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,025 Posts
They will probably carry it out the front door and you will have an ant farm under your hive. If they do take it, which is very doubtful, they will need plenty of water. That is probably why experienced beekeepers take the time and effort to make syrup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
By your wording I'm gonna guess that translates as - you've never tried it, and don't know if it will work or not. Of course you might be correct - or not. Thanks for your input.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,016 Posts
I have no experience myself but I am told bees tend to throw the sugar out. I imagine if they are going to starve they might take it - but then they would need water to eat it... so if you have to give water and sugar why not mix them ;) They also say your supposed to wet the dry sugar - sound like about as much work as making syrup.

Last winter one of the hive we have was given dry sugar on top - but it is hard to say they actually ate it. So I am not really experienced with this - I feed syrup.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,025 Posts
Actually It means I have tried it a few times. Sugar dusting is a temporary natural solution for Varroa mites. Sure they are different textures and grain size, but the result was on the ground both types. The ants are not so bad in the winter. ABC XYZ of Beekeeping and other comprehensive beekeeping books mention feeding dry sugar and similar results. I have tried plenty of things since 1969. It will not bother me one bit if you do too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
So go for it Dave. You might learn something.

Didn't your bees make enuf honey already? Before the dearth period?

There is a dearth period in TN? If so, why wouldn't you feed syrup? If they need feeding at all.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
I've fed it just because it was left over from winter and I never got it back into buckets for storage. It needs to be a bit damp to get them interested. You can feed it in the open if you like. You can't feed it on top without risking getting comb in the space. The problem with open feeding is the yellow jackets get as much good out of it as the bees...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
I am not a "natural" beekeeper but do believe in leaving plenty of real honey on for the lean times.

It doesn't seem right to make such beautiful creatures live on something from a tanker truck or paper bag.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,261 Posts
A dearth does not mean the bees are starving, it means nothing is blooming. Thats why bees store honey and pollen for the dearths and the winter. If your hives have stores they will be fine until the fall flow. If they are short on supplies then feed them syrup....most of the dry sugar will go out the door and out the SBB if you use them...and yes I am speaking from experience we tried this on some summer splits last year that were very low on stores going into our dearth, they carried it right out the door. Gave them syrup and they were happy and well fed bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So go for it Dave. You might learn something.

Didn't your bees make enuf honey already? Before the dearth period?

There is a dearth period in TN? If so, why wouldn't you feed syrup? If they need feeding at all.
This is my second year and I've split from 2 overwintered hives (one and a nuc actually) to 6 hives this year. So, they've actually made a fair amt of honey, but they've made even more bees. If we continue to get regular rain they might not need supplemental feeding, but usually it gets bone dry in July and August, and according to area bee keepers they can starve to death. Last year my original hive (from a package) was out of food by the end of July - I didn't take a drop.

I would rather let them feed their selves, but I don't want them to starve. I'll do whatever has to be done, but syrup has a lot of drawbacks - 1) bees can drown 2) They can over fill the hive with it 3) It can ferment or other wise go bad 4) It can set off robbing 5) Other bad things I don't even know yet.

I gave them dry sugar over last winter - just in case - and it worked out pretty good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,025 Posts
1) bees can drown
maybe in a poorly designed or maintained Miller or frame feeder, but there are many styles of feeders, never drowned a bee in a top down mason jar
2) They can over fill the hive with it
only if you feed more than they need
3) It can ferment or other wise go bad
put a little Honey Bee Healthy or lemon juice in the syrup or use containers they can consume in a week not 5 gallons at a time
4) It can set off robbing
do not use an entrance feeder or open feeding
5) Other bad things I don't even know yet.
learn from others experiences on these forums
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I've fed it just because it was left over from winter and I never got it back into buckets for storage. It needs to be a bit damp to get them interested. You can feed it in the open if you like. You can't feed it on top without risking getting comb in the space. The problem with open feeding is the yellow jackets get as much good out of it as the bees...
Last winter I used a hive body as a shim to feed sugar in, and I filled it with top bars with starter strips just in case they wanted to start something. They didn't build comb on them then, but I've also used them to fill spaces when I was short of frames, and I've ended up with a bit of cut comb honey from them - and a bar or two of brood as well. It's actually kind of cool.

I've got some (20 lbs or so) big chunks of rock candy left over from feeding dry sugar last winter that got me thinking about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
1) bees can drown
maybe in a poorly designed or maintained Miller or frame feeder, but there are many styles of feeders, never drowned a bee in a top down mason jar


True, they won't drown in those, but due to changing temps, barometric pressure, or alignment of the planets the syrup can all leak out in a couple of hours, run out the hive and set off robbing. Had it happen.

2) They can over fill the hive with it
only if you feed more than they need
3) It can ferment or other wise go bad
put a little Honey Bee Healthy or lemon juice in the syrup or use containers they can consume in a week not 5 gallons at a time
4) It can set off robbing
do not use an entrance feeder or open feeding


Or spill any.

5) Other bad things I don't even know yet.
learn from others experiences on these forums


That's what I'm here for.

Feeding syrup works, and I know it's tried and true - I'm not knocking it. I just like to try different things if they seem like they might have their own advantages.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
I think feeding them dry sugar in the summer dearth is at least worth a try. Like you, I fed sugar in the winter and had good luck with it. To reduce the likelihood of the bees carrying the sugar out of the hive, I just spritzed some water over the top of the sugar to form a crust. A couple of the hives tossed out small amounts of sugar, but it wasn't enough to cause problems, and most didn't toss out any at all. (Also, I wonder if the summer humidity would work in your favor and stick the grains together a little bit.)

And now you've got me thinking about trying it in our dearth...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A dearth does not mean the bees are starving, it means nothing is blooming. Thats why bees store honey and pollen for the dearths and the winter. If your hives have stores they will be fine until the fall flow. If they are short on supplies then feed them syrup....most of the dry sugar will go out the door and out the SBB if you use them...and yes I am speaking from experience we tried this on some summer splits last year that were very low on stores going into our dearth, they carried it right out the door. Gave them syrup and they were happy and well fed bees.
Thanks. Personal experience. Very helpful. I have some "rock candy" left from feeding dry sugar last winter I'll probably experiment with. If I see they are chipping it up and carrying it out, I'll make syrup out of it.

I'm also talking about splits that are not very fat on stores.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Also, I wonder if the summer humidity would work in your favor and stick the grains together a little bit.

And now you've got me thinking about trying it in our dearth...
No kidding - I wouldn't be surprised if it gets enough water out of the air to almost turn into syrup on its own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
We use raw sugar for feeding our queen raising nucs in the spring, summer and autumn it works really well they dont store it they tend to use just what they need to keep them ticking over it also stops the problem of raiding when using syrup.
We never use white sugar always raw we either feed it on top of the inner cover with a small hole in the cover for bees to access it or in the frame feeder inside the nuc.
Have also fed raw to hives and also no problems.

frazz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
we use white for making syrup and raw for dry feeding.
All the beekeepers I know here in NZ believe that dry white sugar causes dysentry in the bees.

frazz
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top