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my winter feeding procedure for each hive:
steps (s.):
  1. Equalize. Reduce the top entrance. Delete any others. Have 2 empty frames on the side for sugar bricks.
  2. Open feed.
  3. Wait x days after feeding stops.
  4. Equalize.
  5. Add sugar bricks.
questions (q.):
  1. What's an ideal min. temp. for s. 4 (given it will be warmer for all previous s.)?
  2. Should I combine s. 4 and 5?
  3. In s. 3, what's a good minimum for x?
How I did the procedure last year:
  1. hives = 3
  2. In s. 2, I used 45.4 kg of sugar. They ate it in 3 days. I think I can make that 2 days this time.
  3. In s. 3, x = 7.
 

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If it is above clustering temperature 54-57 degrees, you can open feed them. Also, if you are (truly) open feeding, how do you know that some hives are getting what they need while others are getting too much or too little?
 

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With just a few hives in a northern climate, I would not open feed,especially at this time of year. While we have had decent weather and a good goldenrod and aster flow, they get really aggressive and into robbing mode very easily. More importantly, you need to target weights on each hive and why feed the neighbors bees and yellow jackets when you don't have to?
I love the paint can method. I can target the hives,avoid robbing and put on weight quickly. The main reason is because the syrup is right above them, rain or shine,warm or cold,day and night. J
 

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I forgot to add that I like to move the brood and some stores down with nectar and open cells above before feeding. The ideal is to have brood and stores below and honey/syrup straight across your top box. J
 
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