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Discussion Starter #1
right now i have 2:1 syrup feeder on but it requires me to have another box on. SHould i switch to the mountain camp method or leave it how it is. Also if i am switching when is the minimum temp. I ask because we are haveing a couple of 40 degree days coming up.
 

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my question is this why did you not start feeding in oct not the end of December? I feed my bees from oct 1 till around the 25 of oct and then shut them up so to say. they only reason one would feed now is if they were not left with enough honey. but if you must feed dry sugar is the best way now. Now don't stop feeding till spring.
 

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the reason for feeding at this time of year is because the hive is out of food and there is no food for them to bring in to the hive. so if you have to feed now it till the first flows start. thats why one should feed in oct and make sure the hive has 2:1 syurp then in november they should be good. but once you start to feed got to keep it up. Dry camp should keep you till march like a 10 lb bag should do.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
actually i have been feeding them since october but they have been sucking it down and have tons of stores. Just wondering if i should switch because the super is sucking up some of the heat.
 

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It cant really hurt them with the MCM. If they need it, they will use it. Just spritz the top so it will crust and they will handle the rest. Mine are still heavy, but I went ahead and did it anyway. Its in the middle 40's here and I had a few sneaking around the garage. They always seem to find the sugar I have stored in there.....lol.
 

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actually i have been feeding them since october but they have been sucking it down and have tons of stores.
you can stop feeding if they have tones of stores. you only feed to give back what they need to get through winter.
 

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Remember, more bees starve in late Feb. early March than any other time. The mcm method is excellent insurance, even if you think they have tons of stores now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
the cluster is quite large and i dont think the pop. of the hive has dropped much. How do you Know the weight? I've heard many people talk of this but i doubt they weigh all of their hives how can you tell/ how do you measure. I think i will switch to the mcm but what is the minimum tempp for doing such.
 

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You can judge the weight by tipping the hive a couple of inches from the backside. If it feels heavy they have enough stores. I am always reluctant to disturb the bees in winter, and will not do so until the end of January or early February. Feeding liquid syrup in winter is not feasible. The bees usually can’t break cluster to take advantage and the syrup and it’s cold or frozen which can be hard on a cold blooded creature. Dry sugar or candy works. The best thing is a spare super with drawn comb full of honey that can be placed on the hive. The bees can move into it when they need it.
Winter preparation for me begins in late summer, I pull the last of the surplus honey in late August or early September. This forces them down into the two or three deeps I use for brood chambers. Queen rearing is starting to slow and swarm season is over. They will use the late season golden rod flow to pack the hive with honey and pollen. I will combine weak hives with strong ones. By early November they are packed to the brim with stores. The only time I will feed them in early fall is if weather conditions has prevented them from collecting adequate stores for them self’s. I have found that by November trying to feed them syrup was just a waste of sugar.
 

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Go to the hardware store or feed store and lift something that is fifty pounds (box of nails, salt block, 50 pound bag of feed) Practice this a few times and get a feel for what that weighs. Lift the back of the hive. This time of year, in my location, it should weigh that much or more if it's a full cluster of Italian bees. A full cluster of Italian bees here would be about basketball sized or more. But they go down from there to Carniolans and Russians which are smaller and then the feral survivors who seem to be even smaller, and nucs I'm trying to winter...

The hive should be heavy. While you're experimenting, set up an empty hive. Just boxes and frames, or drawn combs and lift the back. That's an empty hive. If you lift a hive that is close to that weight, they are starving.
 

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Are they even taking the 2:1 now? If not, I wouldn't leave it on. If you want insurance, go with dry sugar. I'm always hesitant to add syrup late in the year even if they take it on warm days. It's not consuming it that worries me, it's storing it and adding to the moisture in the hive.
 

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Several experienced beekeepers in my area feed syrup through the Winter with good success.

This might be a factor of our winters being milder then that of other folks responding to this thread or some other regional factor.

But, I mentioned this 'mountain method' to some of our old timers over the weekend. None of them used that method. All believe in top feeders and syrup, although one said he used candy canes or something once before.
 

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Lift outer cover off. Remove inner cover. Place one sheet of newspaper directly over top bars leaving one inch of space at one end. Pour sugar (5 lbs.) onto newspaper. Put super around this setup and put back covers.. The bees will take this if they need it. They can get the moisture required from their own respiration. Try looking up Mountain Camp on the search function, probably a better description there.

Perry
 
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