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Apiary #6: Notes on Feeding

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Blog entry by CueballRosendaul posted 06-23-2014 01:15 PM 800 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Bees are doing great Part 6 of Apiary series Part 7: A video of our wildflower meadows last year, playground for the bees »

In case someone is following here, but not on the comments section: Another LJ from Australia made the following comment about feeding. My reply is below:

Matt,
Great to see someone else into bees.
BUT—-why are you feeding the bees so much at the beginning of spring??
Why not just get them into foraging for themselves and the honey will taste even sweeter

I got caught up in too many other bits `n pieces this autumn and so have left all the honey on for the winter, and that was even after buying a motorised radial 6 frame reversable extractor for $1000.00 during summer.
I`m sure they won`t mind.
Ron in Hobart Tasmania

My Reply:
Feeding for a new colony in our region is absolutely necessary. I started this colony from a five frame nuc just a few weeks ago and they’re very weak and have little to no food stores. Feeding sugar syrup encourages them to draw comb which the queen will lay more eggs in to build the colony faster. In addition to encouraging them to build faster, the close food supply also saves them thousands of miles of flying and ensures that they can make it through a rainy cold spell. We just had four days of rain and temps in the 50’s. If I hadn’t been feeding them, they may have had a starvation problem. The hive top feeder even allows them to feed at night and when it’s raining, when they can’t go out and forage. Even after the colony gets built up and starts storing honey for the winter, they won’t be able to make enough for me to harvest this year. The goal is to build the colony now, survive the winter, if population allows then I’ll split them in the spring into another one or two colonies, and THEN harvest honey next year.

On a totally unrelated note, I just googled “Hobart Tasmania” and after the wikipedia listing, the first result was about a nude winter solstice swim: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-22/hobart27s-winter-solstice-nude-swim-attracts-700/5541734 Looks like that’s a pretty big deal around there.

I looked up your location to actually check the climate, and as I suspected, you are much warmer than us here in Michigan. We really need to have strong colonies going into the fall, or the colony will die off over the winter. Most of the people I’ve talked to this spring lost 90-100% of their colonies because we had such a long and brutal winter, the coldest in over 100 years. In January, the temperatures were in the single digits (F) the entire month, with night temps of -15 or colder. Your climate looks pretty awesome except those average temps in the summer (December-February) over 100°.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.



9 comments so far

View twokidsnosleep's profile

twokidsnosleep

1063 posts in 1698 days


#1 posted 06-23-2014 03:40 PM

I am enjoying your posts immensely and following along, not much to add as only starting out sponsoring a hive
Keep it up

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Roger's profile

Roger

15055 posts in 1529 days


#2 posted 06-24-2014 01:29 AM

Some serious bee information going on right here. Thnx Matt.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3193 posts in 1400 days


#3 posted 06-24-2014 01:41 AM

I bought 2 – 3 lb packages of bees and got delivery in April. I put one package at my house and the other at my son’s house about 5 or 6 miles away. There are differences. Queens are different. Pollen is different etc. HE fed his package all the 1:1 sugar water syrup they wanted. I cut mine off about 3 weeks ago. His have draw a full brood box or comb (9 5/8” Langstroth hive). Mine are about 3 frames behind his. Our spring has been hot and cold. Not at all normal. I am not sure mine will make the winter and it is 4 months away. I think you need to keep feeding. Sugar water is supposed to be the mac and cheese of bee food. They like steak and potatoes (pollen).

View CueballRosendaul's profile

CueballRosendaul

301 posts in 865 days


#4 posted 06-24-2014 02:45 AM

I’m going to have to make a larger top feeder this weekend. The population explosion has started. When my mentor made the inspection with me, he said it was imminent that I was going to start hatching 2000 bees a day pretty soon. I think I’m still a week or two away from really taking off, but I had to open the entrance all the way (no reducer cleat) and I’m pouring half a quart of syrup per day for a healthy growing colony.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3193 posts in 1400 days


#5 posted 06-24-2014 02:52 AM

They say a queen can lay up to 2000 eggs per day so if you have a good queen you just might have 200 thousand per day hatching out. I don’t think my queen is doing that. She is young and I just got her but she comes with no guarantees. I am using a Boardman entrance feeder with a quart jar on it. I have one hive (captured feral hive) that is on a feeder that we remove a couple of frames to install the tank. I am not sure I like it as well but I am told it is better. I want to get or make some of those that sit in an empty super with 2 tanks and the floating grating. I am hoping for the 2000 per day population explosion.

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Grandpa

3193 posts in 1400 days


#6 posted 06-26-2014 03:02 AM

How are the bees going? I see I made a mistake in the entry above. Sorry. I meant 2,000 hatching per day. Wrote it too late at night I think. I have just started beekeeping this year. SO much to learn. I keep telling people I have to get them through the next winter then it should get easier.

View CueballRosendaul's profile

CueballRosendaul

301 posts in 865 days


#7 posted 06-26-2014 04:45 PM

Mine are exploding now. They’re eating a quart of syrup per day right now, and in sunny mid-day the entrance is a pretty crowded spot. They’re able to fight off intruders very well. I watched a wasp land at the entrance and it was instantly attacked.

I’m going to make a different feeder for them. The top feeder in an empty super box is just one small mason jar. I’m using that and an open pie pan of syrup until I can build a super-super feeder.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3193 posts in 1400 days


#8 posted 06-26-2014 07:51 PM

I have a purchased tank that I use in one hive. It takes the place of 2 frames inside the brood box. It holds about 2 quarts or maybe a bit more. I modified it to keep the bees from drowning. I think they only cost $3 or $4 but this one was given to me. I washed it out and put a top on it then a ladder fashioned out of #8 hardware cloth. When we opened the brood box last Monday they were coming out of that tank like crazy. I hope they continue. They are a weak hive. We also took a good looking frame of brood and honey from a strong hive and gave it to them. Maybe that will help them. Brood and drawn comb is always a plus. My bees are all taking a quart+ of syrup daily. The pollen has really slowed here but we got a rain a few days ago and that should help some. Great talking to you. Not many people want to sit and listen to me talk about the most phenomenal creature in the world. Actually I think all creatures have many of these attributes but we overlook them until we study the animal.

View CueballRosendaul's profile

CueballRosendaul

301 posts in 865 days


#9 posted 06-27-2014 12:39 AM

I’m fascinated by them too. I squat down by the hive and watch them all the time. Mine will run out of syrup this weekend while we’re camping, but we’ve had a lot of rain too, and our wildflower meadows are in full bloom right now, so they’ll still be happy.

Here’s a video from our back meadow last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOfJXqbnSlE

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

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