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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to bees since March 2020. Still learning as I go. I only have one colony (yes, I need more) and am not aware of other colonies nearby.

I am inside the city limits of Redding, CA which is in the extreme northern tip of California's central valley. Our summers here are extremely hot and dry and in a natural setting there would be a definite summer dearth. However, I am in an area with landscaped yards, flowerbeds, blooming shrubs, etc. Probably similar to every other small to medium city in California's hot interior valleys and much of the western U.S.

I would like to hear from beeks in similar situations (CA or otherwise) on the need for summer supplementary feeding. Do you summer feed pollen patties, sugar syrup or do the bees find plenty of resources in the neighborhoods? I know there will be a lot of variables and that I need to watch the colony's food stores but mainly I want to know if I need to plan on feeding or just be prepared. Thanks.
 

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The nectar flow in my area stops in Mid July and doesn't start back up again until the next spring, so I have to feed August to November and it is quite the pain. Luckily, the pollen flow never stops in my area so supplemental pollen feeding is rarely required. Flowering plants and shrubs generally contribute little to a wild flower nectar flow, it is mostly about the flowering trees that provide the bulk of the material. The best thing to do is to check your stores and even weight your hives if you can. If you notice their stores decreasing, then it is time to feed!
 

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The best thing to do is to keep an eye on their food supply. I am a suburban beekeeper in a city with strong agricultural roots, so there are plenty of gardens and flowerbeds. Here, when the flow stops they rate of honey making slows down, but they continue to bring in what they need. It could be different in Redding, and it could even be different on the other side of Redding.

Let's address something else about feeding. If you are a new beekeeper then you might have one of those piece of junk boardman entrance feeders. Whatever you do, do not use that for feeding during the summer dearth, you may as well put up a giant billboard that advertises to every bee within three miles "Please please please oh please come rob my hive, please I beg you, come robbing!" Feed from inside the hive. Be careful to never spill syrup outside the hive, clean it up if you do, and consider putting on robber screens when feeding during a dearth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Akademee, thanks for the reply and information. Interesting to hear about pollen continuing when the nectar stops.

JConnolly, Thanks for the reply. Good to hear that the bees are able to bring in what they need in the summer in your area. I suspect it will be the same here but I'll sure keep my eye on it. As for the Boardman feeder... you're right, I do have one and I used it this past spring with my new colony. I have since read that they can cause the robbing and you just confirmed that. Thanks. I have been reading and YouTubing about the various in-hive feeders and will need to get one or make one soon. Any recommendations? I may start with the old-school upside-down jars.
 

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If you have ever seen a honeybee in your garden before you got your bees then there are certainly other colonies nearby. There are other beeks in the Redding area on this forum.

An upside down jar inside an empty box is a common and effective way to feed. Go for it if you have the empty box available.

I prefer to use a shim made of 1x3 lumber to contain a ziplock baggie of syrup. Just fill the baggie 2/3 full and cut a few small slits on top of the baggie. I place the baggy in a foil tray to catch any spills, the disposable kind used for holiday dinners. Refilling is quick and easy, just open the top, put in a fresh syrup baggie, cut a few slits and close the lid. Taking just a few seconds, it's usually done before they realize their roof is open.
 

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I started beekeeping last year. I fed 1:1 to help them build comb. I fed them until they back-filled the brood chamber and they swarmed. Just something to be aware of.
ks
 
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