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:
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
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.