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Hello Bee Keeps

I have been feeding my naturally kept colonies for about a month and a half. I did switch last to heavier syrup and two colonies are still light. I am wondering if there are opinions as to feed more syrup or switch to candy boards at this late date. I am of course concerned the bees will not have enough time to dry out the syrup. I understand if enough evaporation has not occurred than the bees will have fermented syrup stores and a Nozema problem.

All opinions welcomed!

Best
Marcy
 

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I'm interested too. I live in Woolwich. I have candyboards in my freezer. I was told syrup at this point would give them nosema. Not feeding at present. Also told to put candyboards on around Thanksgiving. Nice to see a nearby beekeeper. This is my first year. so I'll be interested in any advise you get.
 

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I'm interested too. I live in Woolwich. I have candyboards in my freezer. I was told syrup at this point would give them nosema. Not feeding at present. Also told to put candyboards on around Thanksgiving. Nice to see a nearby beekeeper. This is my first year. so I'll be interested in any advise you get.

Hello Cookie

I posted this awhile ago and it just did not seem to generate much interest. I am on my 9th year of bee keeping here in Brunswick and I am happy to share all my experience and help in anyway. I encourage you to post here as there is so much wisdom and many in Maine will respond.

Generally I agree you run a risk of the bees not being able to dry the syrup enough and the stores can ferment over time and may cause Nosema. I did indeed feed heavy syrup late into the season this year as my bees did not experience a fall flow this year and in coastal Brunswick we remain quite warm. These things are always a calculated risk one way or the other. *smile*

Do reach out if I can answer or help in anyway and it was good to see your candy board comments here. I DO hope you loved your fist year of bee keeping!

Best to you
Marcy
 

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Thank you Marcy. It would be great to have you near by. I'm really stumbling along. Spicer bees in Whitefield have been a lifesaver. There is so much to learn. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm looking at when I look at the frames. lol. Everytime I suit up and go out I feel pretty overwelmed. I haven't looked at the bees since the weather has gotten colder, just the outside. They seem to be doing well. Do you use candy boards?
 

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Thank you Marcy. It would be great to have you near by. I'm really stumbling along. Spicer bees in Whitefield have been a lifesaver. There is so much to learn. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm looking at when I look at the frames. lol. Everytime I suit up and go out I feel pretty overwelmed. I haven't looked at the bees since the weather has gotten colder, just the outside. They seem to be doing well. Do you use candy boards?
Hi Again

So sorry for the delay in response. If I can help in any way just let me know. As to your feeling overwhelmed well there is a good reason for this. IT IS OVER WHELMING... Bee Keeping involves a thousand persnickety details. Remember to enjoy all of it and simply observe observe observe. Every year I make a big mistake that each year ends up with me learning and moving further along my path of chemical free bee keeping.

Let's see candy boards:

I have used them... and they are fine. I try to always feed back honey first. If I can't or don't have it for some reason I feed syrup. If for some reason that can't be done I would use candy boards but am happy to just toss granulated sugar on the inside cover. It is way easier than candy boards and seems to work just fine. Do keep in mind the bees need to come out of their cluster and have some sort of water source generally to utilize the candy board or sugar. This is why I try to stick with honey or syrup as both are in comb and are easily accessible to the bees in their hive.

By the way I seemed to have no or little Fall honey flow this year so my colonies are all light. This happened to me one other time years ago. Fingers crossed they will over winter on their own stores and the supplemented syrup I gave them. YES I will be giving them sugar on inner covers as well.

Best
Marcy
 

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If they are taking the sugar syrup, keep giving it to them.

Mix it as thick as you can and add 1% white vinegar.

Can someone explain how feeding syrup causes nosema I never heard that before?
 

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If they are taking the sugar syrup, keep giving it to them.

Mix it as thick as you can and add 1% white vinegar.

Can someone explain how feeding syrup causes nosema I never heard that before?
Thank you for your reply and input. I have never heard a recommendation that included vinegar and am curious what property the vinegar offers. I believe folks say to stop feeding this syrup this late in the season as the bees likely do not have enough time to dry it and so the syrup may ferment in comb therefore being a possible cause of Nosema.
 

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Vinegar helps with mold and mildew. Bleach as well. You're trying to prevent the given syrup from spoiling / fermenting before the bees can take it, ripen it and cap it.

Bees won't take cold syrup. Doesn't matter what the concentration is. Remember, it's work to collect syrup, store it, ripen it and cap it.

This is late in the year, in your location, I'd be ( if you really have to) protecting them from winds, setting up emergency "dry" supplies like dry sugar or candy boards and making sure my entrances were mouse proof / resistant. I have a feral cat that does the mouse thing.

Heft your hives. If they're heavy with honey, reduce the entrances and get ready for a great spring.
 

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Vinegar helps with mold and mildew. Bleach as well. .

Any studies about vinegar doing what it is supposed to do? Any big beekeepers using it every year? I think it does not prevent uncapped sugar to take moisture, and therefore it will eventually ferment and cause problems, or I´m I wrong?
 

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Vinegar would seriously lower the ph of the syrup which should prevent most molds from growing. I would avoid most late feeding with syrup for two reasons. The first is that low temperatures cause the bees to have difficulty inverting and maturing it properly for winter stores. The second is that physiologically the bees that handle large amounts of syrup age faster similar to summer bees instead of long lived winter bees. For these reasons, it is best to feed at most a gallon or two of syrup in the fall then give a candy board or pour granulated sugar on a newspaper above the cluster if further feed is needed.
 

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Any studies about vinegar doing what it is supposed to do?
Can't give you a study on it sorry don't even know if one has been done.

When I feed syrup it is mixed with barley straw. It is just my personal observation that pure cane syrup with no additives, at the strength I have the technology to make it, when mixed with straw will start to blacken with mould in a week or two. Mixed with vinegar the lifespan is much longer plus the straw will be good for several rounds whereas straw with pure cane syrup needs chucking and renewing after just a few uses.
 

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Can't give you a study on it sorry don't even know if one has been done.

When I feed syrup it is mixed with barley straw. It is just my personal observation that pure cane syrup with no additives, at the strength I have the technology to make it, when mixed with straw will start to blacken with mould in a week or two. Mixed with vinegar the lifespan is much longer plus the straw will be good for several rounds whereas straw with pure cane syrup needs chucking and renewing after just a few uses.
I have water containers near my hives with straw in it , the bees love it.
Got the advice to mix syrup with "bee tea" containing oak bark and some other herbs, I used citrus acid and vinegar too but since I have no experience I have to rely on advice of others.
 
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