How much do you feed in a dearth?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by divkabee, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. divkabee

    divkabee New Member

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    Times are bad for bees in my part of Texas right now. We're in a serious drought with very little nectar sources. I'm feeding my 4 hives and wondering how much to feed them. Been feeding them 1-2 quarts up to twice a week. They can consume each feeding in several hours. They are holding steady or in the case of the 2 new hives this year, growing new brood areas very slowly.
     
  2. LtlWilli

    LtlWilli New Member

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    I give mine whatever they'll take, which is about a qt. every other day. Some pollen is coming in here now, but it is not enough to break the dearth. As long as growth continues, I'll keep feeding.
    . Fresh water is a must also . It is a hard time now. 100 degree temps make for a thirsty bee. My birdbath looks like a community feeder at times. Hang in there and stay vigilant to their needs is the best I can really tell you. Good luck.
    LtlWilli
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    what is in the hives and how big the hives are would be the two major variables. on some small (very new) hives here I try to give them about a quart once a week. the larger the hives and the lighter the hives the more sugar syrup you would want to feed.
     
  4. divkabee

    divkabee New Member

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    LtlWilli - how many hives do you have?

    Tec - thanks for the suggestions.

    Our bees have plenty of water nearby. We built a "concrete" pond for the local wildlife and it's a favorite with the bees.
     
  5. LtlWilli

    LtlWilli New Member

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    Currently, only 4, with 2 more on the way. I also community feed a gallon and a half a day. There's not nearly as much fighting as I expected, so that's a good thing.
    LtlWilli
     
  6. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    I feed as much as they'll take, the bees repay the favor in the end.
     
  7. divkabee

    divkabee New Member

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    LtlWilli - What are you using for a community feeder? What do you set it on?
     
  8. LtlWilli

    LtlWilli New Member

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    I use an old glass meat dish made for serving multiple tyes of meat on. I set it on an old kid's toy oven out in a field. Kinda silly setup, but it works , and is shallow enough to prevent drowning. It measures 16" x 20".
     
  9. divkabee

    divkabee New Member

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    Well, if it works, it works. No problems with ants?
     
  10. LtlWilli

    LtlWilli New Member

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    The ants are my cleanup crew. During the day, the hoards of bees keep them in control, so they come in at night to lick the platter.Every morning I just brush them off the cleaned plate , and start again. Oh, I could fight them , but I choose to let this arrangement go as long as it works...No poisons or applying grease to the old stove. These have to be repeated and I do not have time for it. I guess if it ever goes sour, I'll just move the whole thing and start again.
    I do treat ants away from my hives, however. This prevents overpopulating, with new ants coming in from other areas---I have enough...LOL...Fire ants are the worst, but they give themselves away with the sight of mounds which can be controlled with Amdro bait applied at night to make sure the bees don't get it. This has worked so far.
     
  11. charmd2

    charmd2 New Member

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    Last summer I was open feeding 20 lbs a day. I had 15 or so hives. What I did was fill up one of those ten gallon totes with a bag of sugar then filled most of the rest of the way with water and stirred. Put packing peanuts (the styrofoam ones) on top and they would drain it daily. I am suure the feed ratio of sugar to water was screwy but it worked. I am sure I helped the local ferals out too.
     
  12. divkabee

    divkabee New Member

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    LtlWilli - We've been treating for fire ants many years (w/ Amdro) and seen a re-balancing with the other ant populations. We've never seen bees going for the Amdro bait or getting in contact with it. I do like your attitude toward sharing with the ants.

    Charla - Good idea for the community feeder. Especially like the styrofoam peanuts idea as floaters.
     
  13. charmd2

    charmd2 New Member

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    I picked that up from a forum somewhere. I am entirely to much a lazy beekeeper to refil quart jars daily. I think I was feeding this twice a week. Enough to let them have a brood nest but not backfill to much. I know I kept several of them from starving. Only seven made it through until spring though.

    I may have been better off financially to have combined them after our flow. Keeping the weak genetics through the dry season still resulted in a substantial loss by this spring

    This year I am planning on breaking all weaker looking hives into nucs and giving that a go. I am not sure what my feed ratio will have to be to keep them rearing brood and growing but my own replacement nucs next spring is the current plan.