Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

1567Re: [beekeeping] Feeding the bees.

Expand Messages
  • Ron Culver
    Sep 1, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Doug,

      A comment or two on your search for advice...

      >Folks I need avice please.
      >I'm still feeding my bees. To explain. I'm a new beekeeper. These
      >are my first two colonies every. I got my bees from Georgia in Mid
      >May.

      Unless you’re in an area where the nectar flow was quite heavy near
      the hives, your plight is not at all uncommon. You may have done
      better if you started a bit earlier in the year - depending on where
      you are.

      >I fed them for a month, then cut them loose. Things seemed
      >fine. They had drawn out 8 frames so I added another deep super.

      Don’t forget, bees need to eat about 7-10 pounds of honey to
      produce one pound of wax. Most of your honey harvest has
      gone into comb production. (Not at all uncommon for new hives
      the first year.)

      >One colony has thrived well, the other struggles. The lagging
      >colony has barely begun drawing out the foundation in the second
      >deep super.

      Don’t worry about the hives completely drawing out two brood
      chambers this year. They’ll certainly complete the job next year,
      but again - most of what they harvest in honey will go for comb
      production. Many beekeepers don’t use two full brood boxes,
      thereby cutting the amount of work the bees need to do - they use
      a medium super to augment the nursery, and shallows above that.

      >Neither colony is storing ample honey. In feed, each
      >colony is eating 1 quart/day of syrup.

      Unfortunately feeding too much in late summer/early fall can make
      bees believe there is a new nectar-flow, and sometimes that will
      stimulate swarming. You should expect to continue feeding syrup
      from now on throughout the winter, but slow it down now to 1
      quart every three days - and later 1 quart every five to seven days.

      You should also find on examination of the comb within the hives
      that they are indeed storing much of what you are feeding - particularly
      as the queen slows laying in the fall and the number of bees begins
      to reduce for winter. Don’t expect your late summer, early fall bees to
      draw comb. They usually won’t. (Only new bees, two weeks old or so
      produce wax for new comb.)

      >I'm concerned that without drawing out comb, and storing honey, they
      >won't survive the winter. Thanks in advance for your responses.
      >Doug

      If they have most of the frames in the first brood chamber drawn out
      (8 frames or so) - count yourself ahead of the game at this point. Keep
      feeding so they will store up syrup (they will store most of it) - but
      keep an eye on the interior of the hive. If the frames begin to fill up,
      you can slow your rate of feeding to no more than one quart a week.

      I wouldn’t worry about them making it through the winter if you feed
      them appropriately. Even your hive that is ‘lagging’ should do just fine.
      Depending on how cold it gets where you are, I would suggest work
      on getting your hives insulated, and possibly moved to a location that
      affords good protection from the elements - if you’re in ‘snow country.’

      Check the Internet for ways to feed via a plastic bag inside the hive on
      top of the frames - works well in cold country.

      Next year your new hives will ‘mature’ - but, expect the same problem
      as you ask them to draw out honey supers. Much of your first harvest
      will go to comb. It is only in the third year (in many places) that you
      can expect bees to create much of that ‘excess’ honey you can afford
      to take from them. Not so in some places, a large hive can produce
      enough for wintering - and a healthy crop for their keeper. But too
      many new beekeepers underestimate how much honey bees need to
      last them until the next nectar-flow begins. Remember - usually bees
      need 60 to 80 pounds for wintering (higher in cold country - lower
      in temperate climes.)

      Best wishes,

      Ron

      doug23838 wrote:

      >Folks I need avice please.
      >I'm still feeding my bees. To explain. I'm a new beekeeper. These
      >are my first two colonies every. I got my bees from Georgia in Mid
      >May. I fed them for a month, then cut them loose. Things seemed
      >fine. They had drawn out 8 frames so I added another deep super.
      >One colony has thrived well, the other struggles. The lagging
      >colony has barely begun drawing out the foundation in the second
      >deep super. Neither colony is storing ample honey. In feed, each
      >colony is eating 1 quart/day of syrup. I'm concerned that without
      >drawing out comb, and storing honey, they won't survive the winter.
      >Thanks in advance for your responses.
      >Doug
      >PS. I'm located in Virginia.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Show all 13 messages in this topic