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when they stop taking it - if they are still using it -- keep feeding it

sometimes i pull them off the feed -- to get them to go out and find there own (when good weather and nector is out there) --

i feed strong until mid april (here in West- Washington) but start skiping weeks until early to mid June - when the clover and blackberry start to flow

then start again after the Fireweed to wrap of the year
 

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On a new package, keep it on for at least a month so they can build out their brood nest, usually two deeps or the equivalent. On an established colony, whenever they have a couple frames of capped honey stored. Otherwise it's when they stop taking it, as they prefer nectar. You may have to start feeding again when their honey stores become low. Usually due to what is called a dearth where there is no natural nectar available. Or to build up for the winter season. It's all subjective to your particular climate and locale. Welcome to the world of beekeeping:D
 

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As long as they take it we are suppose to give it. My bees have been taking sugar syrup since April 22. They went through an entire mason jar since last week and I just added more today.
 

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Do you dump the remaining sugar out of the feeder to prevent it from fermenting before you refill it? Or do you just top it off?
 

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I always dump mine, wash and dry the container and then refill it. I'm not sure it is necessary, I think it is just a soapmakers habit to make sure everything is bacteria free before refilling. LOL!
 

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> "how do you know when to stop supplyin gthe sugar syrup?"
> "...I don't want to leave my frame feeder in forever :)"

I think it depends on a couple, or a number of things.

When was the hive first established/set up. Early or late in the spring.
Whether you are starting with all foundation [or foundationless :rolleyes:] or drawn comb. Therefore, feeding syrup to help assist the bees get started building/drawing out comb.

The time [approximate] when you first saw eggs in the new hive or nuc/split where there were previously none or very few; for a new queen for example. >> And then the appearance of 2-3 to 4 frames of capped brood; a good solid "brood pattern" at the end of week two, showing that 100's of new bees will be emerging per day when they are ready.

Worker bees emerge after 21 days from the egg.
Average age range of bees for first foragng trip is 10 to 25 days from hatching..."Biology of Honey Bee", M. Winston.
So, about 30-40 days from the egg stage, new bees will begin foraging.

Whether the colony population is building up normally and no queen problems or delays in build-up.

No unusual adverse weather conditions during early stages of colony growth.

Good colony growth to take advantage of nectar flows for your area.

"..sometimes i pull them off the feed -- to get them to go out and find there own (when good weather and nector is out there) --"

I don't know if having sugar syrup readily available to the bees interferes with their normal recruitment of nectar foragers. I too, like for them to go out and find there own nectar at some point. For a package started first of May, I stop feeding at end of the month,.usually.
 

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If you feed a package until they quit taking it, in my experience they will swarm when they are not big enough to do so successfully. The brood nest will get clogged with syrup, they queen will have no where to lay and they will swarm...
 

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To quote Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter about sugar syrup:

"keep giving the bees the sugar syrup until the don't take it anymore. Bees prefer nectar from flowers over sugar syrup, so you'll know when nectar is available to foragers because the bees will have stopped consuming the sugar water you've provided for them."

I was just told yesterday evening by another beekeeper that the availability of nectar depends on the foraging area and whether or not my bees have found that source (clover has just started showing her). As of yet, mine haven't found a significant source so I continue to feed.
 

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I'm not about to argue with Dr. Marla Spivak :rolleyes: :),.but.

Is this something that is taught to beginning beekeepers as a generalization without making it too complicated for them? To be on the safe side? To get their hives established enough so that they can take advantage of natural nectar sources for their area?

How does a new beek decide when the bees are,.."not taking it anymore? The bees [some colonies, not others] will probably take some syrup,..forever! If a new beek looks at their feeder and thinks,..Woo,.. the bees are still taking the syrup, when they are actually not taking that much over the course of 3-4 days from a quart or two. Bees that consume a gallon after 2-3 days are really taking the syrup!
Another new beekeeper will decide/think differently whether the bees are still taking [or appear to be taking] the syrup or not.

Thomas Seeley, in his book "Wisdom of the Hive" discusses extensively how bees coordinate nectar collecting and processing. Some of it has to do with the sugar concentration and how long it takes a forager to find a house bee to accept its nectar load. It is quite complicated.

How do wild bees survive through the spring to early summer,..and swarm,. without sugar syrup being fed to them? At a certain point, does having syrup in the hive interfere with the natural progression of maturity and the temporal division of labor within the hive? Does it interfere with the communication of nectar sources; waggle dance for example?

Complicated but interesting read. A PDF >> http://lis.epfl.ch/~markus/References/Huang96.pdf
 

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Oldbee, Don't understand the need for the "rolling eyes", does quoting Marla or Gary get under your skin? :scratch:

As far as I can tell, from the few months I've spent on this forum, every beekeeper has a different opinion on what is right or wrong for the hive depending on experience and location. There isn't any right or wrong answer entirely since if there was there would be only one answer for everything. So if my quoting someone with not only extensive beekeeping experience but also scientific study under their belt (which I've noticed not all beekeepers have), has offended you, I'm sorry but I have a right to share an opinion that I value just as much as you do.

My bees are still taking syrup. 2 quarts in 5 days IMO means they still need it.

I have no personal stake in whether someone on this forum feeds their hive syrup or not, all I can offer is what I learned and what LOCAL beekeepers (with years of experience) are STILL telling me about the need for syrup.

As I'm sure everyone does on this forum, the OP can decide for themselves which pieces of advice they want to accept and adopt into their own practices as a beekeeper.

BTW/I've talked to quite a number of beekeepers that have taken the U of M course over the years and they have quite a bit of success in backyard beekeeping following the instructional video and book written by Marla (which is why I took the course myself). ;)

If you want in depth answers to the questions you asked maybe you can contact them :)
 

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my bee's were taking a quart a day, then slowed up to a quart every 2-3 days so i took it away. then i added another deep and super so i gave them feed to see if they wanted it to help with drawing. rite now they take a quart a day again. when it slows up, i'll remove it. i'm new at it, but thats my thoughts on what i'm going to do.
 

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"Oldbee, Don't understand the need for the "rolling eyes", does quoting Marla or Gary get under your skin? :scratch:"

No not at all. You misinterpret. The rolling eyes is my way of showing respect for the extensive knowledge about beekeeping that Dr, Spivak certainly has compared to me. Difficult to undestand,.. maybe. The :rolleyes: can be humorous at times,..not really sarcastic.


"So if my quoting someone with not only extensive beekeeping experience but also scientific study under their belt (which I've noticed not all beekeepers have), has offended you, I'm sorry but I have a right to share an opinion that I value just as much as you do."

I am mostly asking questions about extensive long term feeding in my comments! You aren't addressing anything about my reference to T. Seeley or the PDF. I'll bet that extensive feeding [far beyond when necessary] within the hive, hasn't been studied as far as it's affect on the natural developemnt of outdoor foraging behavior. We just do it!

"I have no personal stake in whether someone on this forum feeds their hive syrup or not,"

I don't either,..just asking questions,.. making comments myself. Seems you're too upset over nothing.
 

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If you feed a package until they quit taking it, in my experience they will swarm when they are not big enough to do so successfully. The brood nest will get clogged with syrup, they queen will have no where to lay and they will swarm...

You know, when I did my 1 week inspection on a 5 frame nuc I installed in a 10 frame box with 2 gallon frame feeder, I almost felt like all the bees did was move the sugar syrup into their cells... soooo many of the cells were filled with either nectar or sugar syrup.

I hope that's not the case.
 

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Oldbee,

I'm sorry I misinterpreted your response and was snarky in my post. I'm feeling a bit cranky this morning after meeting with the heating/air guy and learning I have to come up with enough $$$$ to replace the old furnace and air conditioner or risk not having either when I need them. :cry:

I'll surely step back and take a breath before replying next time. Actually, as smart mouth as I came off, I ran out to check my bees to see how much they were eating and then sat there contemplated taking it away after what you posted because in all honesty the questions you asked made me wonder as well and the last thing I want is my bees to get dependent on the sugar syrup or swarm :s
 

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You know, when I did my 1 week inspection on a 5 frame nuc I installed in a 10 frame box with 2 gallon frame feeder, I almost felt like all the bees did was move the sugar syrup into their cells... soooo many of the cells were filled with either nectar or sugar syrup.

I hope that's not the case.
That means from what i was taught that your feeding had already served its purpose. I was taught that you feed to get them to draw out wax comb. You keep feeding them passed that...they fill the wax comb cells with sugar water! No rocket science here!
 

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All of those frames that they are filling with sugar water were already drawn out because it came as a 5 frame nuc. I'm hoping they get busy drawing the other frames out as well. It had been pretty cold in the week leading up to my first inspection so I don't think they did much of anything actually. I'm going to check again in the next few days and see how they did with the warmer, albeit wet, weather we've had lately.

Man I wish summer would hurry up and get here!
 
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