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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Somewhere in the past week or so I saw a post (can't remember where) where someone mentioned that they feed a little at night. No more than the bees could use before the next day, but enough to keep them busy drawing comb etc. overnight. At the time I didn't think much about it but my mind kept wandering back to the what iffs. Clearly this isn't practical for commercial of large quantity hive hobbyists but for the backyarder like me with five hives could there be some value?

I have a couple medium sized hives and a few nucs, all are building out foundationless frames this year. A few weeks ago I stopped feeding and watched my hives loose a pound a day even though the daytime traffic was much higher. Added the feeders back four days ago and they slurp down a gallon each in 24 hours but traffic is reduced during the day.

What say ye all, does it make sense to give them a little night syrup? Would be interested to hear your experiences or thoughts on the matter. Troy
 

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Maybe the pound a day that you saw that was lost was simply the absence of the waterweight in the syrup, which has to be dehydrated out before it can be stored, anyway.

Do you have your hives on scales so you tell that closely?

How much comb are your bees drawing now? Mine can easily draw out a couple, or three, deep foundationless frames in a few days, plus throw on comb here and there on the Piercos that need re-working etc. But my hives are really heavily populated, in big stacks, coming out of their first (well-fed) winter. Last summer I was surpised how slowly they were building their combs from scratch. (I had no idea bees were ever fed sugar until about the middle of August - I was a totally clueless newbie.) I think my bees had issues with the Piercos and the foundation I offered, as they seem to really go to town in foundationless frames this year (not always perfectly flat, level and tidy like on the plastic, though.)

If you added more comb that could be a plus, but if you prompted them to avoid collecting nectar and pollen, that would be a minus since I think the natural food is best for them (white granulated sugar being what it is: highly processed, empty calories of junk food for man, beast, and bug). And also goosing a nuc or package into faster growth may not, in the long view, be the best way to prepare for their first winter where they might have a bigger population than they have had time to prepare and store food for.

They're you bees, though, so nobody is going to come and arrest you for feeding them at odd hours of the night - it's not a B-Felony.

Enj.
 

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Why would you feed at night when you can just feed them during the day time?
Just put the gallon of syrup on top of the hive and put another super on to cover everything up.
This way you can set them out either at night or day at your convenience.
 

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For me it's like this:

During a flow:

normal population - no need to feed
small amount of foragers in nucs - need to feed but results in robbing if done during the day (I haven't used robber screens though). The best method is to give them a frame of honey from powerful colonies, but of course not everybody affords it.

In a dearth:

Feed normal populations... and about nucs... I'm even scared to think about it :)

I had this tendency to feed bees like other animals in my yard but for now I'm only assuring myself they will not starve so I just dumped in some dry sugar. Some of them started to eat it, some didn't. I'm talking about mating nucs.

In rest I also started foundation less. I'm surprised how small population can build comb. Really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Maybe the pound a day that you saw that was lost was simply the absence of the waterweight in the syrup, which has to be dehydrated out before it can be stored, anyway.
probably right. BTW my pound figure was off, that was the half weight, they were loosing 2 lbs a day but still likely evaporation.

Do you have your hives on scales so you tell that closely?

not on a scale but I do mount a lifting bracket on the bottom of my bottom boards. Very handy to monitor if a young hive is adding or loosing weight. Lift till the hive comes up off the stand, double that number is very close to the hive weight. Here's a pic

Wood Fashion accessory Metal

How much comb are your bees drawing now? Not enough. Mine can easily draw out a couple, or three, deep foundationless frames in a few days, plus throw on comb here and there on the Piercos that need re-working etc. But my hives are really heavily populated, in big stacks, coming out of their first (well-fed) winter. Last summer I was surpised how slowly they were building their combs from scratch. (I had no idea bees were ever fed sugar until about the middle of August - I was a totally clueless newbie.) I think my bees had issues with the Piercos and the foundation I offered, as they seem to really go to town in foundationless frames this year (not always perfectly flat, level and tidy like on the plastic, though.)

If you added more comb that could be a plus, but if you prompted them to avoid collecting nectar and pollen, that would be a minus since I think the natural food is best for them (white granulated sugar being what it is: highly processed, empty calories of junk food for man, beast, and bug). And also goosing a nuc or package into faster growth may not, in the long view, be the best way to prepare for their first winter where they might have a bigger population than they have had time to prepare and store food for.

They're you bees, though, so nobody is going to come and arrest you for feeding them at odd hours of the night - it's not a B-Felony.

Enj.
No Bee police is a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Why would you feed at night when you can just feed them during the day time?
Just put the gallon of syrup on top of the hive and put another super on to cover everything up.
This way you can set them out either at night or day at your convenience.
I think the posters point was to have them working a double shift. Feed enough to keep them working at night but not so much that they spend daytime in a feeder instead of the field.

These hives will take a gallon each over night if I give it to them. Convenience is not really the question, if I feed them, I do use top feeders and leave them on, I just pop the lid and dump the syrup in through a screen.
 
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