Can you feed to much?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Yankee11, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    It was really warm yesterday and today. Bees were flying like crazy. I open fed pollen and syrup both days.
    I am about 3 acres from my house to the hives, it's really far from the hives. But they were crazy today. I put out 4 quart jars of very strong syrup. I filled the jars completely with sugar then added hot water. Almost as thick as honey. i wanted as little moisture going into the hives possible. Any. I put out 2 eggs trays full of pollen today, as well as 2 trays of pollen yesterday. I went down to watch at the hives and all 7 hives were coming and going like there was a flow on.

    I suppose if they didn't want or need it, they wouldn't take it?

    2013-01-20_14-49-42_747.jpg

    Oh, and meet Penny, the newest member of our farm :wink:

    2013-01-18_18-55-49_355.jpg 2013-01-19_10-48-20_736.jpg
     
  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    How cute teaching your Kid the ABC's already. I know it's a lamb not a baby goat. Could not resist the pun. cute pictures though even of the bees. I'm always leery of open feeding. it is OK if you keep it up till there is a flow on or if you have no week hives that may have a hard time defending themselves. also there are so many other hives I would be feeding more of the neighbors hives than my own. It is a personal hive management decision, what ever works for you. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.
     

  3. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    No, it is a baby goat. It's a pygmy goat. So you had it right. She was hanging out in the garage helping me put frames together yesterday.

    I generally don't open feed but with the weather the way it is. Warm for 2 days then back cold. I can't be putting feed on 7 hives then removing them. So high tomorrow is only 44. I don't see the harm for just a day or so, as long as its way away from my hives.

    But what I am wondering is about the amount, of say pollen. Is there any harm in feeding them as much as they will take or should it be limited in some way.

    I did notice that yesterday they hit the pollen harder than the syrup. Today they seemed to be in the syrup more. I'm thinking they know what they need.
     
  4. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I used to open feed. My bees were robbed out and killed in October 2011, and it was the end of March 2012 before I had another bee. so I don't open feed anymore. It is harder feeding inside each hive.

    When we aren't going below freezing anymore I will change my telescoping covers out and put on migratory covers with a 3 inch hole drilled in the top, #8 hardware cloth tacked to the inside of the cover. Just right to set a standard size canning lid into with a quart of syrup above it, and a holes drilled in the lid. (actually I cheat and use dadant predrilled lids on my quart jars.) I put a pond liner apron around the jar to keep rain out, set a rock on each side, can glance at the apiary and see who has syrup and who needs fed.
     
  5. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    The problem arises when the bees are use to an easy syrup source and it runs dry the bees are already to competing with other bees for the syrup so the scout bees go looking for an other score a weaker hive that can not defend itself. as long as the bees have a destination and it stays available until weather or a flow discourages robing, it can be a problem. in your case the weather will stop the bees from flying and when the weather warms again the scouts will look for new sources but should not trying to rob other hives.
    The bees will assign pollen or nectar gathering duties depending on the needs of the hive. The amount of pollen gathered by the bees is related to genetic make up I think. Some hives gather and store more pollen than other hives the same strength and in the same yard. The bees tend to balance their brood laying space to stored honey and pollen. feeding them the pollen should stimulate the bees into letting the queen start laying. Be careful that they get to much brood and the weather turns cold and the bees can't protect it.
    At first I thought goat but it seemed short and all white so 2nd thought sheep but it is a little skinny for a lamb and the ears are a little long. Pygmy goat that explains my confusion.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    to answer the question in your topic line yes you can feed too much but at this time of year with no flow going this would likely be very difficult. I have often shown via a very small observation hive how feeding excessively (and with a smallish unit it doesn't take much) can lead to unwanted results (lack of laying space and eventual superscedure or swarming). I do like Apis response above and I will add to this by adding another problem with open feeding is that hives that don't need the feed pick up the largest proportion of the feed and the hives that could profit most from the feed get very little <you can of course do as we use to do years ago and spread the feed out in the form of syrup in the comb to the hives that do need the feed.

    I myself would not worry about the quantity of water in the syrup <in the old days when I did a lot of 'pot feeding' with HFCS in 55 gallon drums we would purposefully thin the heavy syrup just a bit.
     
  7. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    Thanks everyone.

    We have about a week of cold weather now. I will go back to hive top feeding when it warms up again. I have a container of pollen powder coming in also. I guess I'll try and make some patties out of it and put inside the hives.

    Dandelions and small weeds are starting to bloom so it wont be long here.

    One of my goals for my second year as a beekeeper is to manage the hives so they don't need feeding from me. Except for swarms or splits. Last year we started these guys last year when right before the drought hit and they never had a chance to store much until fall.
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The drought had us all feeding. I saw a couple of dandelions in bloom yesterday. And my plastic jar pollen feeder was doing such a good business I enlarged the opening overnight. (originally had drilled 2 - 3/8 holes in the jar lid.) I cut out the plastic between them last night. Just dry pollen sub in the peanut butter that was coating the jar. Peanut butter shouldn't hurt them. Gives them traction while they get the pollen.

    Gypsi
     
  9. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    YankeeII, i'm glad this was about bees, i thought you were wanting pictures of us on the Forum.:lol: Jack
     
  10. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    Funny Jack,

    Now that would be an interesting thread.- NOT

    Buts that's what they reminded me of yesterday. Me at a seafood buffet, aaaa, or any buffet for that matter.:razz:
     
  11. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    Gypsi,

    Do you open feed the Dry Pollen Sub from the jar or is that jar somehow inside the hive. I like the idea of the jar with holes. Keeps the wind and bees from blowing it everywhere.

    I bet North Texas has same weather as central Arkansas.
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I originally hung a horizontal peanut butter jar on my front porch,with pollen sub in and 2 holes drilled in the lid.. Bees didn't find it. Lid was red, so before I moved it I taped some white paper over, drew 2 yellow daisies with my grandson's scented marker, center of the daisy over the hole, and hung it from a plant hook about 10 feet from my 5 hives. and they did a good business with it yesterday. I worry more about syrup feeding, or wet frames, than I do the plain pollen sub. I'd take a photo but have my hands kinda full right now. And yes, our weather is very similar to yours. 50 today, near freezing tonight.
     
  13. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    Thanks Gypsi,

    I saved one of those 1 gallon pickle jars. I think I will modify the lid and sit it out and see if they will go in and out of that.

    A lady beekeeper that runs a bee supply store said the queens are starting to lay around here.
     
  14. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd save that pickle jar for syrup feeding. Just any old thing - piece of capped pvc pipe, white jar, you don't want to feed a whole lot at once, maybe half a cup is a LOT of pollen sub.
     
  15. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    Yankee11:

    You folks are in a little colder area than us Central Texans. I have drilled many oil wells near Magnolia and El Dorado and their temps are some colder than ours, and you are north of them a bit. Seven or eight years back South Arkansas had an ice storm that left some people without electricity for several weeks. The storm destroyed trees by the millions. Our area does not have that kind of ice storms.

    As a side note, we were drilling in that area during the ice storm. We used diesel powered generators for our job shacks. We ordered out another job shack so that the crew members could shower on site, as most of them were without power. Some of them brought their families out to shower in the evenings. We invited them, as it didn't cost much more to provide another job shack complete with a bath room and shower.
     
  16. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    [/h]
    Yes, you can feed too much.
    1) if you are open feeding syrup and a beekeeper 4 miles from you has their honey supers on, you are totally contaminating their honey.
    2) If you are open feeding syrup and any of your hives has a honey super on, you are contaminating your own honey. It's no longer pure honey, but a combo of honey and sugar syrup.
    3) If you are feeding a weak hive during a nectar dearth, with syrup feeders inside the hive, you are increasing the chance that stronger hives will start robbing it. You might want to consider keeping a robber screen on the hive being fed, if there is no strong nectar flow going on. And forget about open feeding anywhere near your hives during a dearth- it just makes the bees crazy and in puts them all in robbing mood.
    4) If you have a Spring nuc or split and have been feeding it for weeks and their queen is laying well, and a big Spring nectar flow starts... in my opinion you should stop feeding and let them take advantage of the nutritious nectar buffet.
     
  17. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    @omie:

    Four miles? Will bees travel four miles to forage?

    I generally agree with your assessment of feeding. I didn't take any honey from my mature hives last fall as we had been through a very dry summer with very little blooms. My hives had a lot of stores, but I would rather them have extra stores than worry about feeding.
     
  18. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I agree with Tec that at this time of the year it would be difficult to feed too much, but you do have to be careful that stores of feed-syrup don't get mixed into combs from which you intend to extract honey.
     
  19. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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  20. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    @Omie:

    I did a little research and found that bees have known to forage up to six miles. From reading these forums, I had assumed two miles and possibly three. You were correct. Thanks for causing me to do some research.