Feeding Syrup Already?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by litefoot, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    My local semi-mentor (you here on the forum are the other half:smile:) beekeeper told me this past week that I should start feeding syrup the first week in March. Now I know that I've got to start feeding soon, but what he suggests seems to go against everything I've learned here. If I feed syrup, now, I can either go with the inverted jar method which could create moisture and chilling issues--and I'd have to keep feeding until the nectar flow. The top feeder would probably eliminate the moisture issues, but I don't think they'll break cluster to get to it. The temps here are still cold with 32 degrees F being a warm day. The hive seems to be pretty heavy still, but it's been too cold to open it up to check stores. The bees seem to be OK for now since I always see a crowd at the top entrance. But I don't have the instincts that come from experience and I don't want to make a mistake after they've made it this far. My mentor has 50+ hives scattered over 4-5 yards and he has taught me lot, but I'm a little reticent to start feeding syrup now. What say ye?
     
  2. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    I bought two 25# bags at costco for 10.99 ea.I think last year it topped out at 13.99, so it's good when the price goes down.If I was you I'd copy your friend , he seems to have a good handle on things keeping fifty going.Maybe heft the hives and check for stores.
     

  3. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    It is not that they actually need the syrup as feed but the bees have started rearing brood in preparation for the coming warm weather in the spring and the returning pollen and nectar flows. If these flows do not start the bees will slow the brood production down and will not pick up the pace until the flow starts. This can put the brood rearing back 2 to 3 weeks depending on the year. This is also the time of the year when the winter bees are reaching the end of their life and are going to be dieing off in greater numbers. Syrup being fed will keeps the bees stimulated and rearing brood.
    In most hives in the northern region the bees start raising a small amount of brood in the beginning of January. By the middle of February the bees have expanded the brood area as far as they will until a flow starts, either natural or artificial. No pollen in the hive will also stop brood rearing also.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    The bees seem to be OK for now since I always see a crowd at the top entrance.

    tecumseh...
    sometimes this means (most especially if the weather is coldish) that the bottom of the stack is empty. the winter time cluster has consumed everything below and is now at the top of the stack. one reason to feed is lack of resources and you can only know this by either looking inside or directly scaling the hive or heft (informal scaling). another reason to feed is to somewhat expand the adult population 45 to 60 days down the road to the time when the first nectar flow begins... the idea here being that the more adult bees you have on hand the greater the potential honey crop you can collect.

    I am trying to figure out why you mentor's advice is counter to what you have learned here????

    I myself have long believed that bee keeping is by it very nature VERY LOCAL and as a general rule I don't argue with a proven track record or experience at a given location.
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    :amen:
    People on location generally know what's best for their particular neighborhood. If you respect him as a beekeeper, there is no reason to go contrary to his advice.
     
  6. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I am the exact opposite. Everything about my instinct is telling me the bees need food soon. very soon as early as this coming weekend.
     
  7. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    OK, thanks for all your views. Looks like I'll start feeding. The good news is my hive has a Honey Run style inner cover that I built with an insulated top that has a removal circular piece that I can invert a jar on. I really struggled last year getting the inverted can/jar to work. Never seemed to get the hole size and number of holes right.
     
  8. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    Just remember to poke the holes from the inside of the jar out. That way the burrs in the metal wont' scrape their tongues as they withdraw. about 15 very small holes on a large pickle jar worked well for me
     
  9. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    I feel it's too cold to feed syrup yet here. Temps in the 40's during the day. I would open the hive and make sure they aren't starving. I am feeding fondant right now and will until I get flying weather in the '50's. Then I'll start open feeding. I'll put patties on the hives the next warm day. Remember, all beekeeping, like politics, is local.
     
  10. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    It's too cold here to be feeding syrup as well.
    Camero, be sure to stop open feeding before the first nectar flow starts, or you'll be contaminating other people's honey.
     
  11. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I put a couple of quart jars of syrup out last weekend just to see if they'd work it (temperature was around 60F), and the jars are nearly empty. Now it's turned cold again and I'll have to put them up until next week. But they sure were busy working it when it was warm.
     
  12. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I was able to get sugar water on three hive today for the first time. Temp got to 60 since about 11 this morning. it is just starting to cool down so will be going out to take it off soon. There are quite a few bees in the nuc taking it bu tthose bees have also been goign up to get to the sugar. The big hive is foraging like mad and they are not yet paying all that much attention to the syrup. IT usualy takes a couple of days for them to figure out the jar is up there.