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Tia-

The plan is for the bees to have enough honey and a cluster size large enough to reach the honey stores by the time the last nectar flow ends. If so, we don't need to feed at all during the winter. We feed sugar syrup (when weather is warm enough) to make up for what ever honey stores they lack to make it through until springtime nectar flows. In cold climates like ours, syrup works fine when temps are above 50F, cane sugar/fondant over the top bars works better during the colder winter temps.

Hope this helps,
Steve
 

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2:1 is the right ratio by practice but there are many opinions available via the search function regarding the ratios of syrup vs. what natural nectar has to offer. I have had experience with the bees not taking the syrup. It's the syrup temp of 50* that is important. As a backyard beekeeper, I take top feeder temperatures with an HVAC type thermometer (they have a more suitable/lower range than a cooking one) before going to candy or mountain camp methods.
 

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Some people have even gone as far to say fall feeding can lead to Nosema, But I don't think so. But at any rate if my hives are not heavy when I heft them then I put the syurp to them and I do that in late sept early oct.
and the reason to feed 2:1 is less water content for the bees to evaporate.
 

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Do bees survive the winter exclusively on 2 : 1 sugar - water solution?
There are beekeepers who remove all of the real honey from their hives and overwinter their bees exclusively on sugar syrup honey. Their theory is that they can sell the real honey for more than it costs them to feed the bees syrup. So, in answer to your question, I'd say yes, bees can survive the winter exclusively on 2:1 sugar water. The more important question, in my mind, is will they thrive?
 

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The question is not clear. Are we talking feeding all winter, or feeding hives up to weight in the fall and letting them winter naturally on stores?

If fed in fall, with plenty of time to pack it away and cap it like honey, sugar syrup made from white table sugar is a winter feed which is equal to most honey and superior to some. Two to one is used to reduce the amount of work the bees have to do to store it and to reduce excess hive moisture released while it is being condensed down to winter stores.

If fed all winter, syrup will be hard on the bees, as will sugar or any feeding method other than candy boards or fondant, and I am not sure about them.

The best winter feed is "honey" in the comb -- whether 'natural' from nectar of flowers or made from syrup.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The question is not clear. Are we talking feeding all winter, or feeding hives up to weight in the fall and letting them winter naturally on stores?.
yes, i was thinking of feeding sugar syrup thruout the winter

If fed in fall, with plenty of time to pack it away and cap it like honey, sugar syrup made from white table sugar is a winter feed which is equal to most honey and superior to some. Two to one is used to reduce the amount of work the bees have to do to store it and to reduce excess hive moisture released while it is being condensed down to winter stores..
"winter stores" is that capped syrup?


If fed all winter, syrup will be hard on the bees, as will sugar or any feeding method other than candy boards or fondant, and I am not sure about them.

The best winter feed is "honey" in the comb -- whether 'natural' from nectar of flowers or made from syrup.[/QUOTE]
 

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TomOB,

I had a serious back injury last season, and many of my hives went into winter VERY light after a really rainy season and no real care in sept/oct/november. By the time I was able to walk and get around, it was late December. Whatever I could do prior to that I did with the help of 'newbees' that wanted to learn...we didn't get much done as most days I didn't even walk despite unlimited pain meds.

As a result, I used candy sugar to get my bees through this winter, and I had normal (low) losses, even in some late caught swarm colonies in 2 medium supers as well as several 4-frame nucs made late-august.

While it is certainly not the preferred method, it has worked really well for me this year, and next year I'm planning on overwintering with candy boards with honey-b-healthy, even if I am able to pack them away for winter with ample honey stores.

I hope this helps. Last winter my late-caught swarms all starved out in February because I didn't yet know how to feed bees in the winter. I learned it during this past season.

Good luck. The candy recipe is great. email me at [email protected] and I'll forward it to you.
 

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If fed in fall, with plenty of time to pack it away and cap it like honey, sugar syrup made from white table sugar is a winter feed which is equal to most honey and superior to some.
There is nothing more superior then honey made from the nectar of plants. beekeepers make there bees live on table sugar, then wonder why they have to medicate to keep them healthy.
 
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