Bee Teas

Discussion in 'Organic Beekeeping' started by hlhart2001, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    Hi there,
    I am very much a newbee/bee virgin and am learning as I go along...does anyone use Bee Teas. A beekeeper in the valley uses one for mites(I think). Also I saw one for sale at Spikenard Bee Sanctuary(the guy was featured in Vanishing of the Bees and Queen of the Sun). What do you think? Do you use them to target specific diseases or just to improve overall vitality? Do you have a favorite? Do you make your own? Thanks for any and all comments/suggestions.
     
  2. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    My own personal view is that we tend to think we would know what bees need nutritionally more than bees know. There is a lot of money to be made by selling all kinds of overpriced 'natural' or holistic 'bee health tonics' to new beekeepers who want to save the bees and be 'natural'.
    Why feed bees sugar syrup flavored with herbs at all? Why not just plant herb plants for the bees to collect natural nectar and pollen from? That's the real deal....without the sugar water.

    I feel that feeding sugar syrup to bees (and that includes so called 'bee tea' which is mostly sugar water with herbs added) when they could be gathering real flower nectar is misguided. Bees are meant to drink real flower nectars of all sorts, that's the best possible 'tonic' for them.
    Give bees a good variety of healthy REAL food sources and they will be healthier bees.
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I just need 10 acres...
     
  4. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    I hear you, Omie, right now I am just collecting all sorts of info and feeling a bit overwhelmed. I really don't want to buy a bunch of fancy/expensive stuff, but sometimes I/we get caught up in that(basically because I am a newbeekeeper) We are in a rural area with lots of options for the bees to choose from..we have a lots of bee friendly plants in the garden, wildflowers....I know they know what they are doing but me that's another story;).... We just had a frost last week and I have been worried about the cold, but the bees are doing fine. Thanks for reaffirming the notion about KISS(keeping it simple stupid....;)

     
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The one note I'd like to add to Omie's excellent summary is: Beware of drought and dearth. Bees don't need teas, but they do need nectar. And 1/3 of an acre worth of wildflowers will not feed a hive.

    What I remember about Eastern Washington is that it doesn't get much rain passing across the mountain tops from the ocean. Having had a drought and dearth devastate my first hive last late spring/summer, with me totally unaware until they were all gone, the caution to not feed sugar should be abridged with: keep an eye on what they are bringing in, especially if it stops raining. Then plain old 1:1 sugar water is fine. Additives may attract robbing bees during a dearth, and feeding honey may attract robbers as well.

    Gypsi
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    A note to all new beeks..............................

    Each time you go to your hives, lift the rear of each one an inch off the stand before doing the inspection. You will develop a feeling for how much stores each hive has by doing this. Then you can feed when they are light, and not when they are heavy. No additive is needed. Equal parts sugar and water, either by weight or volume, will be the best all around for their health.

    2 parts sugar to 1 part water for fall and winter feeding.
     
  7. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    Yes we do get very hot and dry here mid to late summer. We actually had a very dry May but with frosty nights. Then it rained and really greened things up. I have been feeding 1:1 sugar water and still am(I questioned this and worried I was creating little sugar addicts;) but looks like this is what the bees need right now) ...because it was a package of bees and because they are still taking it...We have six acres, surrounded by many acres of open fields/meadows, forests and higher mountain terrain. We are close to the ditch and river and an organic apple orchard... I worry about late summer..I have a bunch of late blooming flowers(Russian sage, black eyed susans, sunflowers...) but that is not enough to sustain them. I just wonder where they continue to get the nectar. Anyway we shall see.
     
  8. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    So do you mean to just lift the back off the ground and make an estimation of the weight? How much should it weigh? Hmmm that is very interesting. I did read about scales? for the hives...does anyone use these? Our little package of bees is working on the second hive body. I am feeding sugar water continuously....they are still taking it and we put them in the hive beginning of May..it was a dry May but frosty nights and the frosts continued into June..then it rained beginning of June and greened everything up. The temp last night was 49 degrees. They have been very busy bringing in nectar and pollan, but are still taking the sugar water. I guess they need it. Thanks for the tip!
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    ""So do you mean to just lift the back off the ground and make an estimation of the weight? How much should it weigh?""

    Yes, and after lifting it and then looking inside, you will learn what different conditions feel like. Then when the weather is bad, you just lift and you know what they need or don't need.
     
  10. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I would guess there were more than sufficient wildflowers in your area to sustain your little hive during a dry spell if you are in the middle of "many acres of open fields/meadows, forests and higher mountain terrain". You are not in the middle of the midwest mon-culture where there is nothing but corn or soybeans for hundreds of acres around. Nor are you in a desert area.
    Your description sounds a bit like where I live (with smaller mountains though), and no matter how dry we get in late summer, there are always various roadside and meadow wildflowers/weeds blooming.
    Keep in mind as well that as long as we are not greedy in taking all the honey the bees make for themselves, they will be putting honey away to sustain themselves during lean times like dry spells or winter. The bees prepare for the hard times if we let them.
     
  11. hlhart2001

    hlhart2001 New Member

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    Because they are a new hive(package of bees) I have no intention of taking any honey this year...I really want to give them every possible advantage. We can have very cold winters and want them to make it through.