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In a small yard that has a mix of strong hives, weak hives and new nucs what is the greater risk...

Feeding when natural food sources are low with the risk of exciting robbing

Not feeding when the mid summer dearth is on and risking them starving..do they truly starve to death at this time or simply slow down?
 

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Worse they will do OK during the dearth but end up starving in the first round of cold weather due to lack of stores.

If you need to feed during a dearth to build up a nuc, boost a weak hive, etc, feed inside the hive. Hive top feeders are the best, the ones with a screen that keeps the bees inside work really well since the top can seal off the feed from robbers and the bees cannot get to you when you add more feed.

Do not use Honey Bee Healthy or any other feeding attractant, you will just draw in robbers. Under no circumstances would I use Boardman entrance feeders, they are only going to set off robbing as the feed is right at the entrance. Use the jar over the hole in the inner cover surrounded by a sealed box (no entrance slot in the inner cover) and toss the feeder insert.

Weak hives will benefit from a frame of brood and nurse bees from the strong ones, it's better to do that than to feed in a dearth so long as the strong hive has adequate resources of their own.

you can store drawn and capped supers on the strong hive and move them to the weaker ones for winter too, that also reduces the risk of robbing. Equalize them in September and feed them all up if neccessary for winter rather than try to get a weak hive to store up enough goodies on their own.

Peter

Peter
 

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I feed the stronger hives, give frames of stores from the stronger hives to the weaker hives. Put robber screens on them all if robbing starts. Queenless mating nucs are the weakest, and get robbed out before a weak queen right hive/nuc.
 
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