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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Checked on a couple of my hives today noticed my big booming hive bees are very lethargic at entrance not a lot flying in and out. So I went in for an inspection they had eaten all the winter patties and I pulled some of the frames off the top medium super and zero honey left. Still a ton of bees made them up some big winner patties and gave them two frames of honey. Is it too late for them?
 

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I don't think it's too late. The problem with feeding early, especially with patties, is that you're simulating available food in their surrounding environment. Essentially, you're creating a false food supply and the bees react accordingly by raising brood earlier than they would normally. Once you start feeding, you need to keep going since you've now got the colony hooked on a food source that they cannot forage for. If you let them run dry, you run the risk of a collapse because the build up is much earlier than nature provides for. You are, essentially, their only supplier. I know of "beekeepers" that toss patties on during the January thaw. The bees run with it and later, have too many mouths to feed. To me, it sounds like you just need to get the feed back in and let them do their thing. Real food is very close to being available and for you (and I) there is some pollen available right now. Unless you have something else going on, I'd plan on an even bigger colony soon. Just remember that once you start...you need to keep going!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks both posts. You say once you start you can’t stop is that both pollen and winter patties? Thought that just pertained to pollen patties. Because I haven’t put pollen patties on just winter. Checked on them a little later and lots of activity and orientation flights. Saw a lot of dark yellow pollen coming in today on my other hives.

When can I stop feeding? When dandelions bloom?
 

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Pollen is worse but any early and artificial source of food can be a problem if you don't keep it up. Once the real stuff rolls in, you're good. Dandelions is a good time to stop. They may stop early all by themselves once nature gives them what they want.
 

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Once you supply supplemental feed, you have to continue it! That nearly starved out hive damaged all its nurse bees trying to feed the brood that they ate when they couldn't feed it any longer. The ugliest scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Once you supply supplemental feed, you have to continue it! That nearly starved out hive damaged all its nurse bees trying to feed the brood that they ate when they couldn't feed it any longer. The ugliest scenario.
. So what are you saying are they doomed? Today it seemed business as usual. Orientation flights etc. When I inspected yesterday I only checked the top medium super. Maybe they had more down in the brood box. Just seemed to be acting very calm and lethargic yesterday.
 

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judging on our similar climates they are fine. I had 3 different yards all bringing in nectar this weekend and some pollen. Even if they had to cannibalize the brood they will just be delayed in build up. Guessing with this rain and the warm temps coming we'll be seeing pollen pouring into the hives in a few days.
 

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The quickest way to snap a starving bunch of bees back to life (assuming they are alive, but lethargic) is to spray some light syrup on them. Not a lot. Just a little. And, of course, fill a feeder for when they have the energy to eat again. They always have the energy to clean themselves off. I say this, and I'm not a fan of spraying syrup on bees, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
judging on our similar climates they are fine. I had 3 different yards all bringing in nectar this weekend and some pollen. Even if they had to cannibalize the brood they will just be delayed in build up. Guessing with this rain and the warm temps coming we'll be seeing pollen pouring into the hives in a few days.
. I have some hives bringing in dark yellow and gray pollen. Not sure what that is? Haven’t seen the hive in question bringing any pollen in yet. don’t think they’re bringing nectar around me in yet because all the cells in the honey super of the above mentioned hive were empty. I could be wrong
 

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. I have some hives bringing in dark yellow and gray pollen. Not sure what that is? Haven’t seen the hive in question bringing any pollen in yet. don’t think they’re bringing nectar around me in yet because all the cells in the honey super of the above mentioned hive were empty. I could be wrong
keep a feeder with 1 to 1 syrup on then for a week or so until you see them filling cells. Next decent day you should be inspecting the hive to make sure of whats going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for everyone’s help. Noticed today the hive next to it was bringing in a lot of pollen and this hive nothing was coming in. Decided to go in and presto no broo,d no eggs,no larva and no queen. In the brood chamber there was a lot of nectar in the cells. Gave them two frames of brood for them to make their own queen. So I don’t think they were starving at all. Guess I don’t have to worry about swarming
 

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Sickdog: Will you have a good population of drones in 3 weeks? I do not know the answer to this but maybe someone near you will know. You can get mated Carniolan queens from Betterbee, but next weeks supply is sold out. They are next available on 4/24. Northern Queens are not available until 6/13. https://www.betterbee.com/live-honey-bees-and-queens/live-bees-and-queens.asp Just something to think about. J
 
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