Sugar syrup

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Eddy Honey, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    After inspecting the hives yesterday, the bees had no honey stores and only 1 hive had larvae of all ages while the other 2 had capped brood and it looked like they were tearing open some of that prematurely and tearing apart some of the larvae. There were larvae pieces in a few places. A couple of weeks ago they all had some capped honey and lots of nectar. There was stored pollen in all 3. The only thing I did differently was a powdered sugar treatment for varroa a couple of weeks ago.

    My state bee association said we should all start feeding our bees now so I started feeding 2:1 sugar syrup. They consumed a 25 lb bag's worth in 1 day between the 3 hives.
    My wife brings up a point: At 25 lbs of sugar a day that = $17 bucks. Multiply by 7 days a week and that is $119 bucks. I could just buy new bees in the spring for much less.... :confused:

    Shouldn't they slow down their consumption? With the goldenrod in full bloom everywhere and lots of pollen pouring into the hives I can't understand why they have nothing stored. We had a few days of bad weather and now a cold snap (40's at night and 60's during the day) since Friday but there are alot of bees flying.

    I called the state bee inspector and he advised against the powdered sugar varroa treatment and said to use the miteaway II because it sounds like a varroa problem. I forgot to ask him can I feed with my top feeders while treating for varroa?

    I don't want to lose the bees but I also want to be smart about this and keep this in perspective. I already have 2 free feral hives sourced out for next spring.
     
  2. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    they should be slowing down on raising brood the 2:1 will fill there stores fairly quickly. Make sure the hives are gaining weight has you feed. Once you got them up to weight I would slow the feeding down. If golden rod is in bloom they should be bringing in nectar and pollen
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    With all the weeks of rain we've had in the NE, I'm not really surprised that honey stores are low right now in your hive. If it's any comfort, 3 weeks ago I inspected a double deep hive with lots of bees and they had surprisingly little honey, pollen, and brood. In fact, i was a bit worried. But I went in to look again after leaving them alone for 3 weeks, and after a sunny week with goldenrod going into full bloom. I was amazed to suddenly see LOTS of honey, pollen, and tons of solid capped brood, all looking very good indeed.
    If you watch the entrance, are the bees bringing in lots and lots of pollen?- if so, they are probably making up now for lost time during the long rainy spell we had.
    I am currently seeing unbelievable amounts of pollen of all colors being trucked into my hives by the bees every sunny day- there is obviously plenty of flower action right now!

    Others may have different advice, but I say quit messing with them and give them some undisturbed time to pack in the food stores. Natural nectar and pollen will be much more nutritious for them than syrup, and if there's a good flow of goldenrod right now, let them have at it! I'm not a believer in feeding sugar syrup if there is nectar available. NJ and NY typically have beautiful fields, woods, and roadsides of varied and abundant wildflowers readily available within 3 miles of almost anywhere, ...unlike some other areas of the US where there is drought now or monoculture farming...less variety of natural food for the bees.

    As to the 'ripped open larvae'- is it possible the bees built cross bridges of comb connecting some frames or they built comb at the bottom or tops of rames, which got pulled apart when you lifted a box or pulled up a frame? That happens sometimes and then you will see exposed white plump larvae, poor things.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    As for the dead larva, bees will eat their young when the food runs out.

    I would count the total number of frames you have that are covered with bees. Then I would combine, if needed, until each had more than 10 frames of bees in double deep hives.

    Then do as Omie says.
     
  5. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    This question is from my wife:

    The hives looked good a month ago as far as nectar, pollen, and brood. If they depleted themselves in a few weeks because of bad weather how is 60 lbs of stores going to last them a few months this winter?
    My answer is that they are going to consume alot less during the winter and then early spring they are going to do what they did these last few weeks and go on a feeding frenzy as they prepare for the spring flow. Correctamundo?
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    when over wintering they do not go through stores like the do in the summer. Most overwintered hives that die out from starvation dont do it until late winter or early spring when they start raising brood. Once they kick in raising brood they will blow through the stores
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Eddy, you are very close. Right now, and in the early spring, they are feeding 30 to 40 thousand larva. They won't be feeding them in the winter. A larva will eat much more than an adult.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Eddy writes:
    'the bees had no honey stores and only 1 hive had larvae of all ages while the other 2 had capped brood and it looked like they were tearing open some of that prematurely and tearing apart some of the larvae'

    tecumseh:
    to reinforce Iddee #4 post... this hive is on the verge of starvation and is cannibalizing the brood. the next step without intervention is the hive absconds due to starving.

    I am uncertain of the hives in question configuration?

    Ideally you would want to add 60# of weight to the hives pretty quickly... lets call it 50# of sugar and 10# of water. 2 to 1 should add more stores than brood. if the hives are sucking down the quantity of syrup you suggest I suspect you have added some weight already. somewhat along Omie's warning... it sounds like you need some feeding device where intrusion is less invasive and less frequent.
     
  9. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    These hives are an 8 frame deep and 2 eight frame mediums. There are lots of bees in each. I used to inspect from the top down but figured it'd be better to inspect from the bottom up. So now I take the boxes off and start inspecting frames with the bottom box. This way I'm not chasing bees down and fooling myself into thinking there are lots of bees by seeing the same bees just moving down. Sounds logical anyways lol.
    I found sugar in 50 lb bags a little cheaper at the Sams Club but I would rather them bring in their own nectar. I see lots of pollen of all colors coming in still. Maybe I'll give them 50 lbs a week.

    Has anyone tried open feeding or am I asking for disaster. I have dog waterers and chicken feeders screened off so the bees can't go up inside used for watering the bees. I could fill them with sugar syrup instead. I have the 2 5 gallon buckets I used for this last batch of syrup out there now for them to clean up and they are being civil about it, no fighting or anything.

    I like Omie's post about letting the bee handle this as I have everything else this year.
    Kinda feel like the climatologists and global warming looking at the 100 year trend and saying the earth is warming when they need to see the billion year trend. By looking in the hives too much I may be over-reacting.
     
  10. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I'll say one little thing more- unless you have an important reason to do so, it's better not to go through the entire hive every time you inspect. If the top box(es) look in great shape with lots of bees, lots of brood, and honey and pollen stocked, it's good to leave the bottom brood box undisturbed. If you see young larvae and capped brood and eggs in a nice solid pattern then you know you have an active queen- no need to search for her.
    Every time you go through the brood nest it will set the bees back by some unknown amount of time.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Eddy writes:
    I used to inspect from the top down but figured it'd be better to inspect from the bottom up. So now I take the boxes off and start inspecting frames with the bottom box.

    tecumseh:
    you have perhaps randomly discovered a bit of a trick. although top down inspections seems more natural.... a bottom up inspection produces much more reliable information and can make inspections easier in many way.

    to reinforce what Omie says above.... have some definite purpose in mind prior to any full inspection. for myself a full inspection often time is a 'heft of the hive' and looking at one frame in one or two boxs. full inspection for me (as defined by most folks whereby you look at each and every frame) is typically only performed once or twice a year (typically early spring and early to late fall) and generally involves reshuffling boxes and/or frames.

    hefting and/or tipping the hive ahead of inspection generally informs me if the bottom of the hive is light or empty. in the southern us keeping the bottom box NOT empty is important (to reduce wax worm infestation)... but likely not so important in southern New Jersey.
     
  12. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Don't know if it's a total coincidence or not with the temps being warmer these last few days but since feeding the 2:1 yesterday and the day before now my bees in the hives that were empty look like someone told them today is the last day to collect pollen and nectar before winter sets in . I've never witnessed so much activity of bees coming and going, figure 8's, pollen....It's a little intimidating to get within 50 ft of the hives. Even early this morning when they usually lazily mosey out of the hive it was full tilt boogie!
    The 3rd hive that wasn't as bad has less urgency.
     
  13. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Just be sure it's them being busy and not neighbors robbing.
     
  14. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    You would think with all the hives getting the same amount that robbing wouldn't be an issue but I know better. Kinda like the honey might be sweeter in the neighbors hive! Looks like figure 8's but in the back of my mind I still wonder why it's going on at sunset and sun up though.
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Foraging bees normally go straight in and out. They don't do figure 8s. Orienting bees don't go from morning to night. What does that leave?

    Of course, robbers don't carry pollen in, either.. :confused:
     
  16. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    How do I stop robbing? Do I have to orde a robbing screen? By the time it gets here 5 dys will have passed...too late...
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Cut a "1by" into 3/8 in. strips, making them 3/8 by 3/4. Nail 2 of them vertically on the hive at the outside edge of the entrance. Cut a piece of screen to fit across them. nail it to them and 2 strips across the top and bottom of the screen. That will leave only an entrance straight down from the top all the way across that is 3/8 in. from the hive to the screen. If you can picture that, it is easier to make it complete and then nail it on the hive.

    Clear as mud??
     
  18. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Got it! Headed to the barn now to make it....
    Will an entrance reducer/mouse guard help in the meantime?
     
  19. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  20. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    So will a wet sheet