Winter Feeding

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by arkiebee, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I checked on my hives and did the "heft" test and found that two of my hives are light. I am not surprised because one of them is the hive I split - THEN it swarmed twice on me. The other was a new but strong hive, but I think it may have swarmed & I didn't see it. Anyway -they are light.

    I have been feeding 2:1 sugar:water - is this the correct mix for this time of year? It has been cold here, but we have had some warm 60 degree days and I know the bees will break their cluster to eat. I put 2 gallons of 2:1 on them Friday, and I had already put 2 gallons on all my hives with the nosema mixture for their fall dose the week before that.

    Do I just feed any day that I know they will break their cluster to eat? AND is the 2:1 correct?
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Feed anytime they will take it. Yes, 2:1 is correct, until late Feb. or Mar. Then back to 1:1.
    You can also cover the top frames with newspaper and pour granulated sugar on it for the cold months. Leave enough space for them to come up to get it.
     

  3. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I guess I have never heard of using newspaper and sprinkling granulated sugar on top - remember I am still a newbee! I use top feeders so can I just put "some" newspaper down below the top feeders yet on top of the frames and put granulated sugar on top? I think that would be a good way to be sure they have something to eat when the syrup runs out?
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would do either-or, not both. Use the granulated after the cold weather sets in and remove the liquid until early spring.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    with a top feeder you can feed just about anytime since you are not really opening up the hive.

    sugar on newspaper is emergency ration feeding strategy. if overhead icing (from the cluster's respiration) is an issue, it can also act to wick up excessive moisture.
     
  6. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Thanks guys - you're great! I just want to keep my bees through the winter without losing any. I have 6 hives and I feel if I can keep them going through the winter that would be wonderful...and probably a miracle too! I do know that these "light" hives will probably be requeened next year. I'll be seeking advise on that when the time comes.

    We also are going to move these hives to another location ( not too far away - on the other side of our other barn) when would be a good time to move them? I thought in the early spring when they would be lighter??? We are moving them to another area where I can expand my hives and fence it off from our cows.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    if your weather is anything like it is here I would be thinking about moving them now. moving bees a short distance can be a larger problem than moving them some distance since invariable 'the girls' will get confused as to where their house is and go back to their old location.

    optimally I like to move bees at a temperature range of between 40 and 55 degrees.... where the hive has begun to cluster but not too cold. very cold temperatures are only a problem is you are moving the bees either a long distance or are handling them very roughly.
     
  8. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Could you guys tell me exactly HOW to feed pure granulated sugar? I have never fed this way before??? I still have my inner feeders on and I think the first warm day, I'll take those off and put dry sugar on them.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Once the top feeders are off, place a layer of newspaper on the top frames, leaving an inch or more open on all sides for them to come up. Pour 5 lb of sugar on the paper and spread it enough to get the lid to go on, or use a shim, if needed.
     
  10. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Here I put two sheets of newspaper on the top of frames (don't use more than one or two sheets). Then I sprayed it damp with a bit of water, poured sugar on, sprayed the sugar a little so it would form a light crust. Apparently that makes the bees see it more as food than debris to be carted away grain by grain. Then I trimmed the paper edges sticking up. Notice the bees can still come up and maneuver around through the gap in front and back of the newspaper. Notice the shim as well to give room for the sugar. Then inner cover, and outer cover on top. Hope this helps.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Thanks guys - My husband can build those shims pretty quick - so the first warm day I am going to put them on and then the sugar. It's to be pretty cold here this week - hopefully next week I can get these on

    Thanks for the photo Omie! :coolphotos:
     
  12. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    You're welcome!
    With that short shim I was just barely able to fit in 10 lbs of sugar. If you want to put more sugar then you should probablyuse a shallow or medium super instead of a shim. Or make a 3" tall shim.
     
  13. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    Candy Board
    Use: Winter feeding.
    Recipe:
    The formula for the fondant candy supplied by Dr. Roger Hoopingarner
    15 lbs. sugar
    3 lbs. white corn syrup
    4 cups water
    ½ tsp. cream of tartar
    (smaller quantities can be made using the ratios above)
    Dissolve the sugar in water and stir while heating the mixture to 240 degrees F. Let the syrup cool to about 180 degrees F., then beat until thickened and pour into the board ( like an inner cover with higher sides and no hole) to harden. Once the candy is hardened boards can be put onto the colonies candy side down over the top frames. Some beekeepers pour the candy into wax paper lined molds and then put these blocks on the frames while the inner cover is placed, with the deep side down, over them. Make the blocks no thicker than the depth of the inner cover rim.


    :mrgreen: Al
     
  14. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Well, it was just right at 50 degrees here today, so I didn't even try to take off my inner feeders and put the sugar on. My husband got 2 1/2 inch shims built, so we are ready when we can get a warm day to do this. So I put more sugar syrup on them. They still had some left from the last time, but they were able to break their cluster and those little gals were really eating it up today.

    The beekeepers tell me that they won't take it if they don't need it? I had some on one small hive, and most of it was still there. I was able to look under the hive (that's why I like screened bottom boards) and didn't see but a few dead bees on the screen, but I did hear them up in there, so I know they are still alive. I guess they just weren't hungry?

    We have a bee tree out in our pasture and we went out there today, and they were out buzzing around - they don't mind the cold. And we fixed a milk jug with sugar and I put a little water in it, cut a hole in the side and hung it up on a limb close to their opening. I am anxious to see if these wild bees will go after the sugar???

    I just love watching the bees, I think the world would be a better place if we took more time to just watch these little creatures work. There is just something comforting and peaceful about it...to me anyway.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    just a quick note... for the new beekeepers on the board you might wish to tag or write down alleyyooper's formula for a candy board. I don't really use candy board/inverted sugar much myself here, but hand down old beekeepers use to consider a candy board the very best method of getting feed into a hive.

    a candy thermometer is useful if you do go the candy board route. if memory is still accurate the higher you drove the temperature the harder the candy becomes and the cream of tarter inverts the sugar which makes this feed easier to digest by the bees.
     
  16. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Thanks - I may just try this recipie when I am out of school next week for Christmas break.

    That is "3 pounds" of white corn syrup??

    How much does this make? I have 6 hives?
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    arkiebee writes...
    That is "3 pounds" of white corn syrup??
    tecumseh> should be about a quart.
    How much does this make? I have 6 hives?
    tecumeh> I see bhodi has stated on the fondant thread that he is using candy boards. you might wish to compare notes?
     
  18. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Found this while searching the forum for candy board information. I thought the recipe was a good one. I like Perry's idea of using Fondant too.

    I will most likely adopt this candy board design found on youtube by long lane honey bee farms starting at frame 1:22: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhd1-yxbkKI.

    I also like this design and candy recipe from the Southeastern Indiana Beekeeping Assoc. You would want to make sure to leave a dip in the sugar at the vent/entrance hole before it dries. I have seen guys use the wire mesh and cheap plastic queen excluders. I wish I had kept all the tissue papers this summer from my foundations. http://www.indianahoney.org/blog/6624/1019

    I hope this helps any of you new keeps like me if you were starting to think about this stuff already...
     
  19. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    An update from me too-
    That hive that you see me pouring the sugar on in the photo- it died during that winter, in December actually. In the Spring I found the dry sugar all damp and hard and the medium sized cluster of bees all dead and sopping wet. I no longer feed my bees (except a brand new Spring nuc for about 2 weeks). I don't feed any hives in Fall or Winter. But I now DO use additional upper entrance vents and insulated inner covers to eliminate winter moisture buildup and dripping condensation.
     
  20. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Yikes! Well, I also considered making sugar boards with empty deep frames. Anyone tried that?