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Discussion Starter #1
I have read on several places about the different ratios to use for feeding during different times of the year. The 1:1 and 2:1 (sugar : water) are documented the most and probably used the most. Does anyone use a 1:2 mix leading up to spring? I've heard or read that the more watered down mix stimulates wax production sooner, and can help new packages draw comb faster. I have never tried it, just thought I would see if anyone else on here has and substantiate that claim? Also, any other ratios or methods you use for different times of the year? Thanks!
 

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Well, this doesn't exactly answer you question but I'll tell you what I do now. In the spring, I give them roughly 1:1. I say roughly because I don't measure it very carefully. I dump a bag of sugar in one of those big containers that go on a water cooler and I add water. When I think it's enough, I cap it and shake it until the sugar is dissolved. Long gone are the days when I break out the measuring cup. In the fall, if I want them to have thicker syrup, I put two bags in and fill with water until once again I think it's enough, cap and shake. I leave that batch inside where it's warm for a while, shaking when needed to get all the sugar dissolved.

In my experience, adding syrup gives the bees a reason to make space and thus, create comb. I'm certain that the bees don't have too much of an opinion regarding the sugar content but I've always made thicker in the fall.....thinner in the spring. I'm also certain that I've made some pretty thin or pretty thick batches but again, no complaints. I'd love to hear from beekeepers here that have been more careful than myself and see if they have other thoughts.
 

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I have not used a very thin ratio sugar solution but I'm sure they would take it. I would have a concern at this time of the year about having excess moisture in the hive from a real thin sugar solution as we still have some winter to go and I would like to keep moisture to a minimum within the hive.
 

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Haven't done 1:2, that's a whole lot of water though. In the spring it might not matter. If you had two hives you could feed 1:1 to one hive and 1:2 to a different hive and see how it goes? My understanding is that bees with sugar in their stomachs (crops?) and no place to put it secrete wax. So presumably more bees would be required to get the same amount of sugar if it's more diluted so maybe that would equate to more comb? Seems plausible. My guess is someone somewhere has tried it before. You could also split the difference and go something like 2:3.

As far as precise-ness, it doesn't matter much. Everyone gets caught up in it like if they are aiming for 1:1 and it ends up 7:8 they have somehow screwed up and their bees will self destruct. This isn't the case. Don't get confused with pounds and pints and all that. When it comes right down to it 1:1 is pretty darn close to cup-for-cup sugar-to-water. Sugar is like 7 ounces per cup and water 8. In small batches last year I was doing cup for cup and then at the end throw in another cup of sugar. Even with a small number of hives you start realizing you should be making bigger batches pretty quickly and you'll laugh at the fact that you were mixing six cups of it at a time at one point. :)

I got 2:1 down to a science for my scale. Even with only five hives I bet I made 20 or 25 gallons of 2:1 last fall. The last 5 gallons is in my deep freeze waiting for dillution to 1:1 for the spring.
 

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My climate and flows are completely different than yours. I do use 1:2 twice per year, during my three month summer dearth and from December 1st for about three weeks until the Red Maple flow starts. I feed it to simulate a nectar flow to get them into the brood rearing mode. The summer feeding is to get them to raise bees for winter and for early fall splits. The December feeding is to get an early build up for my early Ti Ti flow and to make early spring splits.
I used to use 2:1 in the late summer dearth and it would keep them from starving but they would just store it and raise almost no brood, then the SHB would invade because of the smaller bee population and availability of stores. Feeding 1:2 I don't have that problem.
 

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I use a 5:3 in the fall. The sugar seems to dissolve better than a 2:1 syrup. Last year (2014 fall) they seemed to store more of the 5:3 than they did the 2:1 in previous years, but last year seemed strange anyway, lots of things were different.
 

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I use a 5:3 in the fall. The sugar seems to dissolve better than a 2:1 syrup. Last year (2014 fall) they seemed to store more of the 5:3 than they did the 2:1 in previous years, but last year seemed strange anyway, lots of things were different.
I had silly Italians building combs well into October feeding 2:1. In fact they keep building and never filled them. Maybe the broodnest was still big and they didn't have places to store it? Seems unlikely as the hive itself was really light. This was on October 11th. They built out some more after this and had built the 4-5 white combs you see in 7-10 days before that.
Like I said, they never filled them and they had every opportunity to do so. I was feeding them gallons of 2:1 in baggies as often as possible.

wax in oct.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I do plan on creating a little experiment this spring with some new packages. I may not go as light as 1:2 but I will see if hives that are fed a more "watery" syrup draws comb faster than those that are fed the normal 1:1. I am thinking that any differences may be negligible, and could be possibly be explained away by other factors. We shall see :D
 
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