Feeding in Summer?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by notaclue, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. notaclue

    notaclue New Member

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    I checked my colonies 3-4 weeks ago and they were doing great! Honey available in the younger (swarm) hives and the older hives were busting at the seams. Waiting for honey to cure and figured, "...give it a week and they'll have the honey cured and ready...", checked one hive last week for brood and stores for a trap-out and there was no open brood at all. Started a light 1:2 sugar:water to try and stimulate brood and surprisingly it worked, eggs and ready to go. Went in today and found no eggs no open brood no stores. Went to next hive and lifted...light as air. The other two hives ('russian') I'm getting into tomorrow (I am very slow at getting around) and this should tell me something as they always have extra honey when everyone else is feeding, I have watched them fly in directions other than where the other yards are. Point is, that I have two hives (not seen any robbing and they are in great moods) out of stores and three other hives bringing in stores. All colonies are bringing in pollen (yellow, golden, and almost orange). All have large populations. So I guess I'll start feeding them now and see what happens. I am not normally a feeder, until January to start brood stimulation, but I want to see what happens and if this is just their bloodlines. Elderberry is still blooming as are blackeyed susans and coneflowers, mint, some crepe myrtles and melons/cucumbers and other garden plants, with rose of sharon, acaisia and mimosa. Should these be enough nectar sources for them? There are alot of blooms within a mile, you can't look anywhere without seeing color.

    I posted this because most folks with more experience are on crop pollenation and don't seem to rely on what's available like those of us here in town. Sorry I got long winded.
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    this entire season (spring and early summer) has been somewhat unusual here (on some occasion I think each Texas season is a bit more strange than the last).

    currently the heat wave has been setting at +100 degrees for the past week or so (except when we have a lot of cloud cover). here at 100+ there is little activity at the hive entrance except at the end of the day when the girls start hauling in water (the incoming workers are carring no pollen). I have had several hives melt down (literally the top of the hive gets so hot that the wax and honey drowns everything below) and this week a bit of starvation has began to show it ugly head. there ain't nothin' in any direction that looks like anything blooming.

    this last line suggest a warning to all NEW beekeepers... just seeing bloom out and about doesn't automatically equate to there being nectar available for a hive. when a new beekeeper see bloom, do not automatically think there is something out there that looks like nectar for the workers to harvest. watching the activity at the hive entrance (and observing the returning worker force) at a variety of times during the day is a much more accurate measure of what is (or isn't) coming in the front door.
     

  3. notaclue

    notaclue New Member

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    That's exactly why I noted what is still blooming. I only mentioned the plants that I've seen HONEYbees on. To add what tecumseh said, I went out this morning to watch some of the activity on flowers and the HONEYbees were done working most blooms by 8:00 and a few were working knockout roses until 10:00. There is zero HONEYbee activity right now on any flowers outside and I've been told that if anything has any nectar that it is dried up by 8 or 9 in the morning...if it made anything at all the night before. My water dishes, however are getting plenty of honeybee business.

    Thanks, tecumseh, for the reminder for new folks. I grew up thinking if it's a flower they will love it. Now I'm trying to teaching others this is not so. So much for me not being a feeding kind a guy... :lol:
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I will add to your comments notaclue that it would be nice to not have to feed. it would also be nice to never have to medicated bees for disease nor deal directly with varroa. it would also be nice to live in the garden of eden....

    for myself if I decided to be a purist tomorrow it would be easiest to not medicate or treat for varroa. even if I was a purist allowing bees to starve would be extremely difficult for me.