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They discovered the feeder

984 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Shazam
A month back, a friend and I build top bar hives, installed some packages and the bees were off running. What was interesting is that neither of our bees cared at all for the sugar solution we placed in the feeders. (We used internal feeder boards.)

While the nectar flow was clearly good enough, obviously having another source of close by energy can help with growth so I kept playing a bit with the offering week by week. I started with the sugar water included in the package, to a 1:1 solution. I remixed some 1:1 solution and changed the holes in the lid in case that was the problem. I did a sort of 1.5:1 solution. I added a drop of lemongrass essential oil.

Through all this the bees were dismissive, and it wasn't a bad problem to have. Still, I was curious. Finally, I mixed in some old honey I'd had from years back that I'd heated to fight crystalization (before knowing better), in with a new batch of sugar water, and still had a drop or two of lemongrass oil.

Put it in yesterday and they drank a bit, but today they took nearly a pint of it. I have more ready to go in tomorrow.

In reality, if they are happily harvesting and content with that its fine but as a new hive with all the extra energy it takes to build out their comb, I'm glad they've deigned to accept an extra boost and source of supplies.
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During a good flow they seem to always prefer nectar over syrup.

If you installed the package a month ago, then you will now start to see newly emerged bees populating the hive and the original foragers from the package which were bringing in the nectar will be dying off. During this imbalance you may notice their syrup consumption will pick up until the young bees reach foraging age and the colony begins to maintain bees of all ages.
That makes sense.

Here I thought I just had a discriminating bunch of diners.

"I say, is this sugar cane syrup? How coarse. Do you have anything with a bit more of a floral bouquet?"
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