??? Bees do not make honey from water, they do not make honey from sugar syrup either. One gallon of 2:1 syrup weighs about 11.25 pounds. After the bees evaporate and cap it, you end up with almost 10# of capped syrup. The rule of thumb is to feed one gallon of 2:1 for every 10# the hive is light going into winter.
I knew what you meant from the post, I am just playing with you on the choice of words.
JWPalmer, I have a top bar hive with empty cells on some of the bars in the honey storage area of the hive. How do the bees decide where to first put the syrup - honey storage area or backfill the broodnest? In Langstroth terms, I guess my question is how do they determine between putting syrup in a super frame versus a brood frame?
If I have empty cells on honey frames is it safe to say that is where they will first store the syrup?
Hi Kevin - I don't know the precise answer to your question, but I just wanted to point out that the distinction between 'brood nest' and 'super' (using Langstroth terms) is completely artificial, in the sense of being the result of human invention - and so predictions of this kind may not have a guarantee attached.
In any kind of natural set-up, whether this be in a tree cavity or inside the wall or roof-space of a house, there are just 'combs', and the bees will move up and down the same combs using them for brood or for stores as the season progresses. This behaviour is more easily seen - and is therefore more predictable - in 'alternative' hives such as those which have deep narrow frames or their equivalent, such as the Warre.
My own experience with horizontal hives is that they store honey or it's equivalent (i.e. sugar water) towards the back of the hive, and gradually abandon brood combs at the front. Then, come spring, they begin brood-rearing where they happen to be located at that time - which is invariably at the back of the hive - i.e. the 'wrong' end relative to the previous year. Which is why most of my horizontal hives have entrances at both ends, so that I can simply swap them over.
Of course, others may see different behaviour.
They don't really prioritize honey.
What they do is - they are putting brood into the most favorable location for the brood - first (where the optimal micro-climate is and appropriate cells are).
Then they put the bee bread next to brood - because that is where it is used and is needed.
Then they put honey elsewhere - first using up the closest unused places, then farther and farther away.
When all places elsewhere are used up, the honey usage slowly starts spilling into the brood area.
Thanks, GregV. This may be more than warranted but this is a little background on why I was curious about the question:
One of my big issues as a first year beekeeper is the lack of drawn comb. This is really hitting me right now because neither a split nor the parent colony drew much new comb after July 1. Pretty much what I had then is what I have now. As a result, my bees can't expand their honey stores nor have they been able to grow the broodnest. They have very finite space. As we head into fall this has made me nervous about overfeeding since they had no where to put any extra syrup that I might feed which would lead them to backfill the broodnest to a size that might be too small to overwinter.
When I did an inspection of one of the hives this weekend, I definitely see that I have been too cautious in my feeding as the parent hive has consumed stores that previously were capped or unsealed. In fact, they consumed about 2.5 bars (or frames in Langstroth terminology) of previously stored syrup for their current day to day needs.
Since I have been periodically weighing my honey bars I know that they are about 4 lbs each give or take depending on how much capped versus unsealed syrup is in them. At a minimum then I am short 10 lbs (4lbs x 2.5 empty bar cells) of syrup not even counting the other bars that still need filling.
JWPalmer's post above got me thinking when he said that one gallon (16 cups) of 2:1 will convert to 10 lbs of capped syrup. If I am thinking about this correctly, I can easily feed this colony at least one gallon of 2:1 and certainly more as that will just replace what they have consumed.
By going through this exercise, I can have more confidence in how much I can feed without backfilling the broodnest.
Am I mistaken on the quantity that I can safely feed this colony with no risk of backfilling?
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