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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last year we did an August harvest which we haven't done before, and we lost all of our bees over the winter. This is Seattle so the bees have a shorter season. Should you leave some honey for them? Can they survive on mainly sugar water and protein patties? Does it matter?
 

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Last year the weather was so bad that my hives had nearly zero honey going into winter. They all got sugar blocks and were able to survive on just that. No protein patties. In prior years I left a full medium on top.
 

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yes they can get through winter with supplemental feed ( patties/sugar bricks) if they run out of honey.
I had hives last year in 8 frames a( 4 over 4) all the way to double deeps with 2 mediums on top and a range of hive sizes between. They all made it through winter but i was out putting winter patties on the smaller hives from early january onwards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I figured they can make it if they run out of honey, but I'm wondering if they start out the fall with almost no honey - possibly no honey - if they can make it.
 

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I'm not as familiar with your area of the country, but I can tell you what I am successful with. I am running 10 frame Langstroths. As soon as the weather cools off enough, I am monitoring and treating for mites. I pull my honey supers off when the goldenrod flow starts to slow down. Once this happens I pull my honey supers off and leave my hives to double deeps. At this time, I pail feed 2:1 sugar syrup for as long as they will take it. Once they stop taking the sugar syrup, I will put on my hive wraps, inner cover insulation boards, entrance reducers, and mouse guards. This usually gets me through most winters. If we get a January thaw, which we do normally around here (temps can sometimes get in the high 40's or low 50's), I will go out in the bee yards and try to pick up on the back sides of the hives. If they feel heavy still, then I will leave them alone, if they are feeling light I will put on shims and feed fondant. That's what I do and it tends to work for me. Keys are feeding heavy going into winter and controlling mites. If I fail to do one or the other, I have had failures.
 

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I figured they can make it if they run out of honey, but I'm wondering if they start out the fall with almost no honey - possibly no honey - if they can make it.
If you mean without supplemental feeding, I doubt it unless you have some things blooming. Maybe you could closely monitor them, very closely.

It would probably be less trouble to feed them.

Alex
 

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They can winter just fine on sugar syrup providing they have time to dry down and cap a good portion of it. Pollen patties in the fall may be a negative as it can encourage ongoing brooding in some bee types. Also prone to earlier than optimum brood up before natural food available.

Bees can starve in three days. High mite levels can take down colonies too in the fall, fed or not.
 
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