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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have several nucs that have very little honey stored. Currently we put tupperware containers of sugar candy on the frames. Since they can move up to the sugar when the temps are above 50, I should be safe most of the winter. However, I am curious how fast bees will starve if they can't get to food.

side question: how important is it for sugar water to evaporate in the combs if they will be using it soon?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Heather, the bees extract a fair amount of the moisture before it even gets put in the comb, so I don't belive it is all that important except that the uncured syrup puts some extra moisture into the hive.
Regarding starving, a queen emerged in an incubator will die of starvation within 12-36 hours from personal observation. For the cluster, I would figure about three days from the time the food ran out. JAWAG mind you.
 

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If you are in Florida and that sugar is above the cluster, I wouldn't worry about it as much as you seem to be. Up here in Maine, my bees are out gathering water in the middle of winter, when the temps are barely above freezing and most of the time I am down in the sub-freezing temps. Sure, just to the edges of the hive mostly for water, but in Florida they should be able to find a chance to get to the sugar sometime during the day as the sun will warm that hive up even if the surrounding air is cooler.

If you are really worried about it, ditch the tupperware and just make sugar cubes and place them so they are resting on the top bars above the cluster (or just a line of sugar crystals). NW Florida should be having 60/70's later this week so you should be able to feed them 2:1 syrup no problem. Don't have a feeder? Fill that tupperware bowl with 2:1 and put some straw/floaties on the top so they won't drown. They will suck it down and store it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for the info.
JW, I'm surprised that you have see queens starve in 12 hours. That is fast. I had no idea they sucked moisture out before even putting it in the comb. It makes sense. Efficient little buggers.

nm, I didn't even think about sugar cubes. It has been a long time since I've seen them. Interesting thought. I have mason jar feeders I put on top of the frames, sitting on little pieces of wood. It will be interesting to get back in and see what they have done with the sugar.
 
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