bees refusing syrup.

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by pistolpete, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I've been trying to feed my "at home" hive for the last week or so. So far they have refused to take any of the syrup. The first batch I mixed 2:1 and added a ocuple of spoons of honey for flavor. They didn't take any of it. So I dumped it out and tried straight 2:1 this morning. I just checked on them and the feeder is still completely full. The hive has about 70 lbs of honey and should make it through the winter, but I wanted them topped up to about 100. I know from my inspection a little while ago that they have at least 6 empty frames where the brood nest used to be. The hive is full of bees and some still fly to collect pollen, even though we have had a couple of frosts. I am using an inverted pickle jar on top of the inner cover. I am puzzled as to why they are not taking the feed. any ideas?
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    so what kind of temperatures are you experiencing day and night?
     

  3. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    It's warmed a little lately, 15 to 18 celsius daytime, 6 to 10 nighttime.
     
  4. Oblio13

    Oblio13 New Member

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    It might be too cold. Maybe try waiting until the sun is up and the bees are flying, then give them warm syrup.
     
  5. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    that's what I did today, and still no takers.
     
  6. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    I don't know, I've had some that took it slower than others but never had a flat out refusal.
     
  7. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Add a squirt of lemon juice or a touch of HBH to give it smell/taste.
     
  8. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Im going out on a limb here I can think of a few things it might be. There is a flow on (not likely), Syrup to cold (you already checked this out), Bees are collecting syrup or robing from another hive (possibility), The holes in lid are propolised shut on the pickle jar not allowing them access to the syrup(seen it happen many times)
     
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  9. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    I'm probably the only one on here that doesn't know what HBH is. :???:
     
  10. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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  11. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    all good points Riverrat, and all of those are things I already considered. There is definitely no more flow, though they do still scrounge up some pollen. There is not a lot of traffic in and out of the hive, even on the warmer days (even though the hive is quite full of bees). There are no hives nearby to rob. The syrup was warm. The holes in the lid are definitely not clogged. I guess I'll try some lemon juice next. I'm just about ready to give up though and just feed in the spring.
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    we don't do no 'frenchy' celcius here south of the border. if syrup gets too cold then the bees simply will not pick it up <this factor is quite likely to mean that some forms of feeding are superior to other when the weather turns coldish and stay coldish. I don't know exactly where the limit is set where by syrup is simply too cold for a bee to pick up but I suspect it is somewhere around 50 degree F.
     
  13. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    Sometimes hives with heavy nosema will refuse syrup.
     
  14. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Try a different container? I hate pickles myself!

    "we don't do no 'frenchy' celcius here south of the border"
    "Remember the Alamo!" [​IMG]
    I don't know what that has to do with frenchies ,celsius or being SOUTH of a border.
    I just thought I ought to throw that in.[​IMG]
     
  15. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Tec,
    I've heard that 50 F was the limit, but my 4 hives are still taking down syrup with temps in the mid 40's during the day and near freezing at night here in Utah. Could lower humidity be a factor?

    Pistol,
    How heavy is the hive? And have you been feeding it 1:1 up until now? I wonder if the frames or already full of honey/syrup or if they are full of late-season capped brood stimulated by 1:1 feeding; meaning no place to put the syrup.
     
  16. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    I've heard before that bees prefer natural over sugar syrup, no matter how warmed or flavored it is. If there's lots of in and out activity and they're bringing in pollen, well, they just might have some source (possibly the robbing) they're preferring over the sugar. I've had hives plenty of times refuse syrup, in spring and fall. I keep it on there, checking for mold every few days and sometimes they eventually start taking, sometimes they just never do. I figure, hey, they don't want it then they know what's best for 'em!
     
  17. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    Litefoot: The hive has about 70 Lbs of honey (guestimated by counting full frames) and no brood, that's the low limit for winter survival up here. Only a small percentage of the hive flies to forage now, more like 2 bees/minute than the 200 bees/minute I see in high summer. This hive has not has any feed all year until now ( checked today and still nothing gone). It's ok, the way I can micromanage this back yard hive, there is no problem to feed them in the early spring.
     
  18. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Well Pete, my colony that took down 2 gallons in 7 hours and a gallon a day every day for 3-4 days is now barely touching anything. Not sure if the syrup is too cold now or if they forgot to make payment on their storage unit.