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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I now have two 10 frame deeps, all new waxed foundation (no drawn comb), each with a captured swarm. Each hive has a quart of 1:1 sugar syrup on top. I've been reading through the forum and what I'm putting together is to feed until 8 frames are drawn out and with brood. (If I get anything wrong here, please let me know!) Both hives seem to be buzzing about happily today. Neither seems interested in the other. However...

The flower hive (first swarm captured 2 days ago) is going through sugar syrup like crazy. At dusk yesterday, I had to replace the jar on top (they'd consumed 1/2 quart in just over 24 hours) and now, half a day later, they've already consumed that much again. If this is going to be the norm, that's 1 qt or more of syrup a day for this hive alone? Is this normal for a swarm? (Guesstimate was a 3 lb package size.)

Meanwhile, the eaves hive (captured yesterday) has barely touched their quart of syrup. Not even an inch gone from the jar. This seemed like a bigger swarm to my daughter and I, so wouldn't it be consuming more?

Also...I was reading about putting meds in the feeding syrup when getting packaged bees or nucs. Do I need to do this with swarms? SHOULD I do this?

As per other recommendations, I reduced the entrances on both hives just in case and stuck a set of broken bamboo skewer pieces under the top board feeder for ventilation.
 

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A 3 lb. package will average 10 to 12 thousand bees. The queen will be laying and the larva eating within a week. That's a lot of mouths to feed. They need a lot of feed in the beginning, whether it be sugar or nectar. A quart per day would not be unusual.
Do keep the entrance small while feeding and watch for robbing.

The second swarm will likely start moving the sugar water today, as they will have started building comb to store it.
 

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After finding the 2 swarms we captured this year had mite counts 10 times the other hives I plan on treating any swarms straight away.

I have seen a single deep hive drain a 2 gal feeder in 2 days if they take a mind to.

It may be very different in the south but up here with fall coming on fast I am understanding that 2:1 syrup is the best bet to reduce the amout of water they might struggle to evaporate in the cooler more humid conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good to know I'm on the right track. Though, the eaves hive still isn't downing the syrup. I'll have to go out and look at them another dozen times today just to be sure...

Mites...aargh. So treating is a good thing. What do most people use? (Bee n There, it is extremely humid and hot where I am. Sometimes it's like walking in soup out there, but I've been told to stick with 1:1.)
 

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NEVER treat until a need is determined. Do a couple of mite counts to see if it is needed, then treat only as needed. Otherwise, you contribute to the mite's ability to become immune to the treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Iddee said:
NEVER treat until a need is determined. Do a couple of mite counts to see if it is needed, then treat only as needed. Otherwise, you contribute to the mite's ability to become immune to the treatment.
Gotcha. No treating until needed. Makes sense!
 

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or don't treat at all.<likely not such a good idea for hobby folks with one or two hives but it is pretty much the strategy here in my continued effort to rear treatmentless bees.

I don't really catch many swarms but some folks who do tell me that some swarms come equipped loaded down with mites. some 'soft' treatment intervention may be necessary for these swarms to make it even over the short run. I myself would be wondering why any newly establish swarm was not sucking down the sugar water. This lack of appetite generally spells trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
tecumseh said:
I myself would be wondering why any newly establish swarm was not sucking down the sugar water. This lack of appetite generally spells trouble.
I'm not sure if I posted this anywhere here, but I spoke with the guy who I helped get the first swarm from. After listening and asking a bunch of questions (I think he was checking for any AHB behaviors) he said that he's pretty sure this second swarm has/had a virgin queen and that they'll settle in once she's mated. I'm hoping/thinking he may be right as this morning, a mellower, calmer group of bugs I've never seen. I wish I had my camera, a young anole was on their landing board about 3 inches from the restricted entrance, just hanging out. (His head was smaller than a bee, lol) They also downed about a cup of syrup over night. (Otoh, the other hive downed twice that.) If their queen is mated now and back and laying, would they be more inclined to work/take in the syrup? (I also saw bees from both hives with white pollen baskets. :yahoo: )
 

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They won't take the syrup until they have a place to put it. Give them a few days to draw comb and then see what they do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Because I never stop with the questions... :oops:

Yesterday on my flower hive (the one that's been downing the syrup) I replaced the quart jar around 2 or 3pm (and learned a valuable lesson about putting things on top of the hive, my first sting! :eek: ) Anyway, here it is, 17 hours later, and the jar is almost empty. Do I need to have it replaced/refilled before it runs out? Will any "dearth" stress them? (More than my clumsily replacing the jars, that is.)

Btw, my new observation on bees is that they don't sleep or they are terrible midnight gnoshers!
 

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I would add 'or brooding up' to Iddee comments #9. these two functions are generally where the syrup goes. somewhat contrary to my prior comments when storage space is limited or no brooding is taking place slow syrup consumption is understandable. since eggs require about 3 days almost by definition the early establishment of a hive from a swarm results in NO syrup consumption for brood rearing.
 

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A few hours isn't a dearth. You can wait until it's empty and they have quit clinging to the lid, or you can keep it on them steadily. It's not that critical.

PS. I use half gallon jars and putting one out in the morning and replacing it in the afternoon. They are moving a gallon daily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is cracking me up. The quantity just seems so huge compared to the number of bees I thought I had in there! And, when I walked outside a minute ago (as opposed to looking through the window) I saw it was already empty. Hmm... (Waiting so they're not clinging has certain definite advantages. I'm going to give them another hour then go switch it. Sure wish I had extra feeder caps!)

The eaves hive is down to only a half cup or so. They've certainly changed their ways and are downing it, too.

So, a few hours without is okay and a two quart jar would be even better. (Not sure I've ever seen a 2 quart mason jar :confused: But at this moment, I would really like a couple!)
 

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It sounds like the eave hive has made some comb. Now they have a place to store it.
Half gallon mason jars were common 50 years ago, when people had large families. I find them at flea markets. They sell new ones at Tractor Supply, so they are still being made. You can make your own feeder caps. Just try to keep the holes small. A 1/16th inch drill bit works fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
New feeder caps made! So much easier just to remove and replace the jars. I did end up pouring a bit more of syrup on the bees in the opening than I had before, but at least I'm not pouring on top of the hive. I had to go out and wash it with soap after one time or the ants would have come streaming. I'm hoping they won't be harmed by a random sugar bath.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Iddee said:
Sugar bath, No. Soap, maybe.
Let the bees clean it up.
I was extremely careful. Tiny drop of detergent on a wet paper towel, lots and lots of fresh water wipe ups. That hive top was shining when I was done. :D (But after that, I ignored the random drops. Too much work. lol)
 

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Back to the issue of mites (Varroa) :shock: --- with swarms you should do your best to check for possible infestation as soon as possible. If they are infested and you eliminate them before the combs are built, you will only be the better for it. The mites lay their eggs on the developing brood in their cells and complete their developmental cycle under the cover of the cappings. If you get rid of hitchhiking mites before there are combs and brood, they won't have a place to lay and your whole hive will be clean a lot longer. If you don't get rid of them, you're in for real trouble. :roll:
 
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