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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A month ago I brought a split with a purchased Russian queen to my fathers house, They had two frames of uncapped honey and three frames of brood.

I had instructed him to feed 2:1 sugar water so they will build comb. He says they have been drinking it like crazy, a full mason jar every day!

I went to look at the split today, they filled all the frames with sugar water honey and only left a 4" x 3" patch in the middle of each frame for brood. They have good numbers still but are obviously honey bound.

Did we feed too much? I added an empty brood comb from another hive in the middle of the brood frames to try and give them more space, I'm surprised they aren't building comb.
 

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"....a full mason jar every day! Did we feed too much?"

I feed mine a quart every 2 days depending on how they store the honey syrup. If there is a laying queen on an
established hive I will only feed them enough to fill the frames to the outside honey band. If it is a new nuc I will feed them more to get the population going. But definitely over excessive if all the cells are filled up. Maybe to feed them once every 3 days
to reassess the hive situation. And if resources are coming in then don't feed them as often so that they can use up
some of the hive resources for the queen to lay more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So this is the first year that I have fed any of my bees, I only did this because I was starting to make splits.

I looked into two splits I have been feeding sugar water, and they have done the same **** thing, not as bad but still pretty bad. One other split I gave dry sugar on a piece of newspaper on top of the frames, they ate it all and the brood nest looks normal.

I'm done feeding, it's counterproductive
 

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If you feed so much that they end up honey bound or worse, they swarm, it is counterproductive. If there is a flow there is nothing to be gained. If there is a dearth and you make sure they don't get robbed and you manage to keep the ants under control, it might be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was thinking about it, if I had waited until the brood nest was full of capped brood, they would have had no choice but to build new comb since they have no place to put the honey.

So my hypothesis is that you shouldn't feed a new split until they have filled all the available comb with brood, but once the frames are full of larvae maybe you can force them to build comb for a few weeks.
 

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I see this same situation all the time you don't need too feed all the time especially if there is a flow going on. feed if they are low on stores for the winter or early spring if they are in short supply. feeding causes the robbing tendency because it make the bees go in to a frenzy. also puts them in a bad mood also they'll become bound and nowhere for the queen to lay.
 

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I do a lot of splits and I consider a nuc that has all of the frames filled out with brood in an arc in the middle/bottom and honey around the top and corners to be perfect. Beautiful. No matter if it was feed or flow that got them there.

But at that point you need to either remove a frame or two/or put them In a bigger box. If the pop is strong you might put a foundationless frame in the middle.

And keep an eye on it. Nucs are like kids - they need supervision or mischief will insue, but do your part and they will grow up strong.
 

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Also – at the end of the day, you do want honey in those combs, not sugar-water. If the bees seem to be consuming prodigious amounts of your sugar, don't assume that they're eating it. Instead, assume that you​ soon will be.
 

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I was told to feed my swarms from now to hibernation to ensure enough food for winter. Is this correct? I live in North carolina, our winters tend to sneak up on us here.
 

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>I was told to feed my swarms from now to hibernation to ensure enough food for winter. Is this correct?

It's still July. There is a lot of time between now and winter. Part of the question is what there is for a flow. If there is a flow I would not feed them. If there is no flow right now, you may need to feed them to get them built up by winter. But if there is no flow they are particularly susceptible to robbing, so you also need to keep the entrance small and monitor closely. Feeding is also a risk as far as swarming as they sometimes backfill the brood nest with syrup. I'd keep an eye on them if you decide to feed them. This is not a cut and dried concept. It's a question of flow, time until winter, how well they are building up, how much the hive weighs (or how fast it's gaining weight and bees). You need to go into winter with a lot of young bees and enough honey for winter in your location. This may or may not require feeding.
 
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