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Author Topic: Feeding frenzy  (Read 358 times)

Offline Duane

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Feeding frenzy
« on: July 23, 2018, 10:07:41 pm »
I don't want to feed my bees, but they just didn't gather enough and a few hives would die even before winter starts.  There's just nothing in there but a little bit here and there.  So I made a screen to prevent robbing and set it in place a day or two before.  Then I fed them and it didn't seem bad.  Then another day I was going to feed another hive and remembered some dry sugar left over I had placed on top last winter.  I mixed it up and found I had a dab too much.  I then added it to the first hive.  It must have had a scent on it because the hive was just swarmed with bees.  The screened entrance was 2" by 1/2" screened tunnel they had to go through.  They just kept after them.  I plugged the entrance and that helped, but the next day they were at it again.  Observing the other hives, it looked like the only other one with activity was the one who had the most nectar!  Greedy bees.  So I threw a nylon window screen over it so they had to go out the sides.  Still, I think there's robbing, but hard to tell which are friends and which are foes as I believe the bees from the hive fly out and around when fed, too.

it just seems bad to feed, because then the others rob.  One idea I had is to feed the most aggressive/"productive" hive and that seemed to keep them busy.  The others had bees hanging out, but this one didn't.  Must all be busy inside.

So......
What's people's thoughts on feeding the biggest hive, then as they fill the combs, swap them out with the empty combs from other hives?  No use having them all deal with robbing along with thinking nectar is coming in, and if the biggest hive can withstand it....any potential problems?

Offline Acebird

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 08:19:06 am »
Reduce the hives and feed only at night.  Be very careful about spilling.  Only add supers if they run out of room to store.
Another option is Robin Hood.  Take from the rich and give to the poor.  Make sure there are no bees on the frames that you transfer.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Troutdog

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2018, 08:28:38 am »
I will often use a pail feeder about 2 or 300 ft away for a day or 2 before I feed in hive.
This gives the robbers a place to go and makes it less likely target hives that need feeding will be molested. This is good for late season inspections as well.
As mentioned feed at dusk and reduce entrances. Dont use essential oil additives.

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Offline Duane

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2018, 10:27:07 am »
Make sure there are no bees on the frames that you transfer.
You mean to ensure there's no queen, or do you mean absolutely no bees as one bee will tell the others where it went?

Offline Hops Brewster

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2018, 10:49:45 am »
any foreign bees will result in fighting, as well as the possibility of bringing robbers.
Winter is coming.

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Offline Duane

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2018, 12:19:29 pm »
Regarding pail feeding, doesn't that lead to robbing, that the bees smell where it went and then rob those hives as a food source?

I did feed at dusk, but the next day they were trying to rob it.  And the next day.  I checked in today and saw eggs and the queen, some food.  I added a frame of brood, with bees, from another hive, hoping that gives them a boost for defense.  Hope that's not a mistake...

Offline Acebird

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2018, 12:41:03 pm »
Make sure there are no bees on the frames that you transfer.
You mean to ensure there's no queen, or do you mean absolutely no bees as one bee will tell the others where it went?
Well they could be nurse bees but that takes more manipulation.  Best to get the frame clean of bees.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Duane

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2018, 06:04:20 pm »
Ok, I've been feeding for awhile.  Now I notice two of my hives I would call bee factories.  While the rest have very minimal capped brood and a few sparse larva or eggs nearby, these two have over 6 frames of nicely capped brood, and there are a bunch of the bees on the outside on warm days.   Did my feeding cause them to ramp up production?  Should I be concerned about them swarming this time of year? 

I have some weaker hives that need more bees.  Provided I can find the queen of the productive hives, how many or how would I go about transferring brood and their bees over to the weaker hives which may have only 2-3 frames of brood area?

Online iddee

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2018, 06:21:00 pm »
In March or April, I would do what you are suggesting. In August and Sept., I would kill the poorer queens and combine with the newspaper method.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Offline Duane

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2018, 06:37:12 pm »
I don't see I had given them a fair chance.  I hadn't fed them thinking they would get nectar or that it would eventually rain for the nectar.  And I wouldn't want to combine their bees with the ones overflowing.  Maybe I could choose one of the week and combine the others to it.  But, ignoring past experience in the matter, I want to give them a chance as it's much earlier in the year than October/November when I fed the past demised ones. 

Do I need to reduce the brood in the overflowing ones anyway?  And how would I go about giving them to the weak ones?  If they kill the queen, well, so be it?

Online iddee

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2018, 07:12:31 pm »
As said before, I wouldn't, so someone will have to advise you how. I would combine the weak ones and let the strong ones alone.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline ed/La.

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2018, 08:01:36 pm »
I do give brood with bees to hives that need it with little problem. I put the frames I want to move in nuc or some safe place. I do not like to transfer until I know where the queen is. Once you are positive no queen on donor frame transfer. Sometimes I  lightly spray both donor frames and receiving hive with sugar syrup with a few drops of lemon grass oil. They are busy cleaning off and smell the same. Works for me.

Offline jtcmedic

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2018, 09:51:46 pm »
In March or April, I would do what you are suggesting. In August and Sept., I would kill the poorer queens and combine with the newspaper method.
i agree with iddee, just did this for a weak split today it will be better in the long run after combine.
Be safe
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Offline beepro

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Re: Feeding frenzy
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2018, 03:16:11 am »
Duane, I'm with you.  While others like to combine so that a stronger hive can overwinter better, I like to expand with
splits and feed them to weight.   To resolve the weak hive situation I would swap the hive position with the strong hive.  So a
weak hive and a strong hive will swap position with each other.   This way the weak hive will get an instant boost of the
foragers making it stronger.   You can also give a few frames of bees to the weak hive from the strong hive after you make the
hive swap.   This is call evening out the hives using the fly back method.   

The risk in doing so is that the bees might be aggressive toward the weak hive queen if they don't like her.  Withe the gentle
bees you don't have this issue but aggressive bees they will balled the queen.   It is not the foragers but the older guard bees.  So rather than letting them rob each others I would do a hive swap instead.  Also, if the strong hive is robbing the weak hive I would just move the weak hive to another location.  Then give lots of sugar syrup at the weak hive position inside an empty box for them to rob.   I'm sure the strong hive frames of syrup you can donate to the weak hives too. 

The secret on feeding syrup is that you feed at night on small pint or quart jar.  Just make sure that by sunrise the syrup is 
completely gone to avoid any robbing at day time.   This is how I feed them without any issue for 3 seasons now.