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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two questions here:

How do you tell the difference in stored sugar syrup and stored honey? I have a couple of frames of capped honey, I think. But I've read that they will also store the sugar syrup. How do I know the difference? (And please don't be like my husband and tell me to taste it. :D)

If they are storing syrup, is it time to stop feeding? I'm still getting conflicting information on how long to feed.

Next question is about entrance feeders. I keep seeing not to use them because they encourage robbing. I've seen photos with every hive with an entrance feeder on it. Will they still rob if everyone has one? If I only have one hive should I worry? I can't remember the last time I saw a honey bee at my place (before I started my hive a month ago.)
 

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>How do I know the difference?

You don't really...

>If they are storing syrup, is it time to stop feeding?

If they have capped stores and things are blooming, I would stop.

>I'm still getting conflicting information on how long to feed.

That is because some people believe that feeding can't hurt. In my experience they are wrong. Sometimes I get the impression that people who say "feeding can't hurt" have never actually fed bees... it often hurts. It sets off robbing, it drowns bees, it upsets the microbe balance in the hive, it can cause a weak hive to swarm if they take it fast enough and backfill the brood nest.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm
 

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When you start inspecting the lower boxes of the hive it is often hard to tell which frames have stored honey vs sugar syrup. It's usually a mix. I always stop feeding as soon as my hives have access to their first spring blossoms. In my area the first nectar the bees have available is dandelions. Spring feeding is not meant to add a lot of weight to the hive it's for keeping the bees alive until the first bloom. Michael is right in that feeding does increase robbing. It becomes a balancing act between hives starving to death and the weak hives dying from robbing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When you start inspecting the lower boxes of the hive it is often hard to tell which frames have stored honey vs sugar syrup. It's usually a mix. I always stop feeding as soon as my hives have access to their first spring blossoms. In my area the first nectar the bees have available is dandelions. Spring feeding is not meant to add a lot of weight to the hive it's for keeping the bees alive until the first bloom. Michael is right in that feeding does increase robbing. It becomes a balancing act between hives starving to death and the weak hives dying from robbing.
The woman I got my hive from said their bees left on them several years in a row when they would go on vacation. She said it was because they ran out of sugar water. I have no idea what month she went on vacation but I'm now thinking it was during a dearth. (I seldom go on vacation so this shouldn't be a problem for me.)

If I have several frames of brood, some capped, and two of honey/syrup I'm thinking I should stop feeding but I'm still nervous about it. I'm 4 weeks into a package that started on no drawn comb.
 

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You should feed a new package of bees right? I am under the impression if you have a new package/nuc you should feed so they can draw out the comb? Should you feed a new package even if a flow is on?
 

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If you really want to be able to tell which combs/cells are really syrup, add food coloring to your syrup. :)

While I did use a smiley above:D, I didn't mean it as a joke. Food coloring is not going to harm your bees, and it will tell you what is going on.



Robbing with entrance feeders is not just a honeybee issue. Even if every hive has entrance feeders, other flying critters (wasps, feral bees, bees other than honeybees, etc) may decide to drop in for lunch.

One alternative way that you may use boardman (entrance) feeders is to put the jar upsidedown over the hole in the inner cover, then add a super around the jar, and the lid on top. That way, the hive bees can access the feeder, but it is not readily available to other bees. This is not a perfect solution as in some circumstances robbing can still occur.

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a new spring package with un-drawn or no comb needs to be fed until there is some food reserves, maybe a frame or so of 1:1 "domino" honey substitute, the bees will slow down if nectar is available, but have it available in case the weather turns bad. do not use an entrance feeder. do use a feeder that can only be gotten to inside the hive. do reduce entrance size..... zone 4-b still a little snow in the woods
 
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