Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am located in Central Illinois, we have had two weeks of extremely cold weather and we are currently in a little warm spell. This is my first hive of bees that i am wintering and would i be OK to feed them sugar water if the temperatures stay above freezing? The Hive is blockaded from winds and rains but i didn't know if feeding them in the winter would harm them or not?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,532 Posts
It is to cold for liquid feed. Use Beesource search function for dry sugar feeding or Mountain Camp Method.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
939 Posts
Agree on being too cold....for any feeding. Don't open the hives for anything. If they can't make it for another 4-6 weeks then they don't deserve to survive.
My two hives are doing fine even though activity is at a minimum. Also, may not feed until temps are above 45 degrees from a feeder unless their sources are depleted.

There is one way that may allow you to peek in the hives below freezing temps:

Feeling creative ?

Got a small tent that you can stand up in ? One like the telephone repair man uses. Grab a small electric heater (not ceramic) like a radiator type and a good work light, extension cord(s). Place it inside the tent for a few minutes to warm up the top portion to 45 degrees-ish. Throw your veil on and go to work with the mountain camp setup & inspections. When done, turn the heater off and let cool off so any flying bees return home. Shouldn't take long and you can do maintenance. Of course, unless you're seeing many casualties on the bottom board or screen, this shouldn't be necessary. Just wait it out. I insist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,378 Posts
Agree on being too cold....for any feeding. Don't open the hives for anything. If they can't make it for another 4-6 weeks then they don't deserve to survive.
Respectifully disagree. By all means open that hive up and put a sheet of newspaper on top of the frames and put several pounds of sugar on top. I did that recently and it was in the 40's.

There is no reason to let them starve. Bees can survive the cold. They just can't get damp. Just don't keep the hive open for long periods of time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
Agree on being too cold....for any feeding. Don't open the hives for anything. If they can't make it for another 4-6 weeks then they don't deserve to survive. ....Got a small tent that you can stand up in ?...Throw your veil on and go to work with the mountain camp setup & inspections....I insist.
Not sure what you insist on. You say "Don't open the hives for anything" then offer an odd suggestion on how to do it. You say not to feed then suggest using the dry sugar method.

"If they can't make it for another 4-6 weeks then they don't deserve to survive. ...." In another thread, you advised letting bees starve to death if they couldn't collect enough stores for the winter. A number of people questioned you about advocating against feeding for any reason but you didn't respond. I said I believe that it seems cruel, wasteful, expensive and irresponsible to me and I still think so.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in spite of the advice you give others, I don't think you've let many hives starve to death since I believe you are a new beekeeper in your first winter.

Wayne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
939 Posts
"I did that recently and it was in the 40's."

Adding anything around freezing temps is a risk to the bees. Mountain Camp method should have been applied before temps took a dive.

Respectfully agree to disagree. 40's means around 45 average temp.:doh: Especially in your zone, not ours. Average daily temperatures now in Illinois are around or just under freezing point in the past few days. This coming Sunday is forecast to be about 43 degrees. Still, there wasn't a reason of concern.

Why open hives when there is no evidence of distress ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
518 Posts
Mountain camp worked well here, warmer temps meant easy working. I dont break the cluster, unless it's between boxes, but mainly I dont expose the brood. I'm adding a super on top and mountain camping with 10+ lbs, and I'm throwing patties in/at the clusters. The results are good here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Yeah Spart,
It's ok to do if they need it. I've put MountainCamp piles on mine a few years in the cold when needed, and can tell you that if it's needed, the benefits outwiegh the risk, especially if you can manage the risk by being quick, careful, and non-disruptive.

We had a warm spell last weekend and I adressed a couple light ones - found this happening in one of them...

Do a heft test if you can to determine if the feed is needed. If it is, you have options - like some have said, it's not all doom and gloom. Don't let them die if you can help it, but be willing to step back and watch if they're ok on stores.

Good luck,
-Doug
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
421 Posts
To the OP, I'm not too far from you in IL, and I am feeding dry sugar through the winter this year. I do check and make sure they still have sugar when we get a day in the 40's and it's not too windy, or raining.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,150 Posts
Respectifully disagree. By all means open that hive up and put a sheet of newspaper on top of the frames and put several pounds of sugar on top.... There is no reason to let them starve... They just can't get damp. Just don't keep the hive open for long periods of time.
I agree 100%

I know which hives are light and make a point to check on them periodically. We had a long cold spell and finally had a day this past week that got up to 38 F, I back filled those beehives that were in the sugar and needed more. I just put a paper towel over where they broke through and addded more sugar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
I cannot disagree more with SwedeBee's idea about "don't open the hive for anything." Of course, you don't open the hive when the temp is +12F and the winds are howling out of the NW ~20 knots (I am an old sailor :thumbsup: I am not sure what data base SwedeBee has to justify making that sort of statement. :doh: As I have stated on other subjects on this site, you MUST protect the hives from the winter wind. If you wish (I believe it saves many bees and, therefore decreases the start time to honey flow as well as increasing the number of brood surviving, insulate the hives with foil/plastic bubble/foil insulation which you can get at Lowes. This increases the interior temp of the hive- I know because I have measured it with and without the insulation under different conditions. The ability of the bees to get to either honey OR sugar solution is dramatically increased by just raising the interior temp. Again, I know because when the OUTSIDE temp without wind chill was running in the teens, I continued to hear activity INSIDE the hive....not all the time, mind you, but enuf so that when I opened the hive after a total of THREE weeks, the division feeder which had been filled was EMPTY :applause::applause: This is not a site for speculation. It is a site for sharing what you have learned and can pass onto others on the basis of your experience or data from the experienced or the scientists who are doing research.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Sometimes I'm not too careful when I collect the "rent" from my girls... and if a fall flow fails, it is MY fault that the bees are not ready for winter. So I owe it to them to prevent their starvation. I mountain camped them in early/mid December.

Today the sun was out, temp at 1 pm was 39, light breeze. I opened all 14 hives and checked dry sugar, had to add additional to only two. But I was able to discern with a quick look how they were. This is the only time I opened them since early Dec. Each hive took less than 40 seconds... unless I added sugar, then perhaps 60-70 seconds. No gloves, no veil, no smoke. In and out.

Each of us has to decide the best management style, that works for us. But generally, the more we leave them alone, the better off they are. Including in the summer. As the really great beekeepers remind us, we learn a lot by watching the entrance. And listening. Stethoscopes come in handy.
Regards,
Steven
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top